Bankers less pessimistic about economic outlook, survey finds

Bankers in Wisconsin are less pessimistic about the economy’s trajectory, according to the latest Wisconsin Bankers Association survey. 

The group found 86 percent of the bank CEOs tapped in its most recent survey expect inflation to fall or stay flat over the next six months, which is up from 76 percent in a previous survey conducted near the end of last year. 

Meanwhile, 48 percent of respondents expect the economy to worsen over the next six months. That figure was 72 percent in the previous survey. 

But WBA President and CEO Rose Oswald Poels notes a “mild recession” is still predicted for later this year. 

“Bankers continue to serve as trusted partners in helping community members weather challenges and achieve their financial goals,” Oswald Poels said in a statement. 

Still, the percentage of respondents who say a recession is very likely in the next six months has dipped from 25 percent in the prior survey to 15 percent most recently. Those who say it’s likely made up 56 percent of respondents, compared to 62 percent last time. And the percentage of respondents who are neutral on the question rose from 10 percent to 24 percent. 

When asked about current economic strengths, respondents pointed to high levels of employment and wages, high demand for goods and services and positive indicators for industries including summer tourism, construction, agriculture and manufacturing. 

Meanwhile, inflation and labor challenges in service industries remain among the top economic concerns for bankers in the state, WBA found. 

The online survey was conducted May 16-31 with 66 respondents. 

See the full survey results: 

–By Alex Moe