Executives Cite Education, Workforce Training as State’s Top Issue

Executives Cite Education, Workforce Training as State’s Top Issue

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Alabama business executives cite education and workforce training as the top issue facing the state, according to a survey by a University of Alabama center.

More than 70 business executives participated in the November 2018 survey by the Center for Business and Economic Research within UA’s Culverhouse College of Business.

“Business leaders expressed concern in their comments over the tightening labor market,” said Viktoria Riiman, socioeconomic analyst at UA’s CBER. “Businesses report that competition for talent is fierce.”’

The survey, conducted since 2013, asks for opinions of the Alabama Business Confidence Index panelists on various topics related to issues facing the state and their respective companies. Education and workforce training also ranked first in the 2016 and 2017 surveys.

In issues affecting companies directly, business executives expressed similar concerns and ranked workforce their top issue, the same as in the 2017 survey.

Riiman noted government regulations and taxes was ranked the second highest issue impacting companies. The economy, in general, and company finances and development were the third and fourth-ranked issues.

While education and workforce training (89 percent of respondents) and infrastructure (68 percent) top the issues facing the state, economic and business development (61 percent), dissatisfaction with government (49 percent), and job growth (34 percent) rounded out the top five issues facing Alabama.

Each quarter, business executives across the state take the ABCI survey. More than 80 percent of ABCI panelists use the confidence index as a general indicator of local or regional economic outlook. About 54 percent of business executives also compare personal projections to others’ viewpoints, and 51 percent use the ABCI results as background information for estimating future trends.

Additionally, 25 percent of business executives share results with others, and 22 percent use the ABCI results in short-term planning.

The ABCI panel is open to business executives across the state. Registration is available here, and current and historical results are available on the ABCI website. Newsletters with results are provided for Alabama and for the Birmingham-Hoover, Huntsville, Mobile, and Montgomery metro areas. Panelists can take the Q2 2019 survey during March 1-15.

The Center for Business and Economic Research in the Culverhouse College of Business at The University of Alabama was created in 1930, and, since that time, has engaged in research programs to promote economic development in the state and provide economic and demographic data, analysis and forecasts. 


Zach Thomas, director of marketing, communication, Culverhouse College of Business, 205-348-8318, zthomas@cba.ua.edu or Chris Bryant, UA communications, 205-348-8323 or cbryant@ur.ua.edu


Viktoria Riiman, 205-348-3757, vriiman@cba.ua.edu