Fidelity Bank announces results of 2022 Economic Survey
Skilled labor, inflation among top concerns for businesses, consumers in 2022
(Leominster, Mass.)—Fidelity Bank recently announced the results of its 2022 Economic Survey, providing an overview of how more than 200 businesses and more than 500 consumers perceive the state and regional economy over the next 12 months. For the past nine years, Fidelity Bank has offered an Economic Survey as a way to help bring clarity to the business community so they can move forward with confidence throughout the coming year.
While consumers and businesses continue to be optimistic about the economy of the state and region, skilled labor, inflation, and cost concerns related to overall living expenses, fuel and energy were identified as top threats for both consumers and businesses. Survey respondents are cautiously optimistic about the overall economy with 34 percent of consumers and 39 percent of businesses confident about the economy, down from 50 percent and 57 percent in 2021, respectively.
As in 2021, consumers continued to indicate their top priority is having more control over their finances, with a focus on setting and sticking to a budget and paying off debt while building a healthy nest egg. Businesses are more focused on the availability of skilled labor, and new hire recruitment and retention. Increasing pay, accommodating flexible work schedules, and increasing training were among the top strategies businesses may utilize to combat staffing challenges. In fact, 55 percent of businesses indicated they will invest in their workforce, and more than 50 percent indicated an increase in their 2022 hiring plans. Businesses are looking to leverage capital investment to purchase new equipment, plan on hiring new workers, and invest in training over the next year.
Consumer households are uneasy about the current economic environment, voicing particular concern over costs, which is leading consumers to decrease their spending and place a higher priority on saving. Despite inflation concerns, spending habits remained at 2021 levels, with price and value, convenience, and safety protocols listed as top issues associated with shopping habits.
Survey respondents are still concerned about the effects of COVID-19, but more than 50 percent of businesses indicated changes made in response to the pandemic will continue indefinitely with many businesses seeing such changes as positively impacting business performance.
“We believe it’s important to understand the concerns of our businesses and consumers so we can respond effectively as a community,” said Ed Manzi, Jr., Chairman and CEO, Fidelity Bank. “By publishing the annual Economic Forecast, we can offer our communities information to help them make confident decisions in their financial, consumer and business decisions while also reflecting on how we have responded to the challenges and opportunities of the past to learn how to respond more quickly and effectively to future challenges.”
To view the Fidelity Bank 2022 Economic Survey in its entirety, visit https://www.fidelitybankonline.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/FBM-Economic-Survey-website.pdf
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About Fidelity Bank:
Founded in 1888, Fidelity Bank is one of the strongest independent community banks in Central and Eastern Massachusetts. Fidelity Bank’s unique LifeDesign approach to banking provides the care and clarity needed to make informed decisions with confidence. The Bank offers a range of personal and business banking solutions to clients in 13 full-service banking centers in Leominster, Worcester, Fitchburg, Needham, Gardner, Shirley, Barre, Millbury, Paxton, Princeton, and Winchendon. The Bank has consistently earned a “5 Star” rating from BauerFinancial, Inc., the nation’s leading independent bank rating and research firm. Fidelity Bank has been voted Worcester Telegram & Gazette Best Financial Services in Central Massachusetts and appeared on the Boston Globe’s Top Places to Work list six times. As of December 31, 2021, the bank had total assets of approximately $1.2 billion. For more information, visit fidelitybankonline.com.