RALEIGH – Enthusiasm among Triangle entrepreneurs about their own companies and the economy fell nearly 8 percentage points from a record high in the new Quarterly Outlook of Triangle Entrepreneurs.

The overall economic index score slipped to 114.67 from a record high of 123.80 in the second quarter, according to the City of Raleigh and the NC State Entrepreneurship Clinic. The survey focuses on expectations for the next six months.

However, the score is still slightly higher than the same quarter a year ago and is higher than 3Q results in 2015 and 2016.

The latest tally also is more than 10 points higher than the survey’s low of 103.80 in the second quarter of 2016.

But in reviewing the new data, there is evidence of a third-quarter doldrums trend.

“We saw this in 2015, 2017, and now 2018. The outlook index is relatively level in the first and second quarters, and then declines in the third quarter.“This is really intriguing and, as we’ve highlighted since the beginning of this project back in 2014, the strength of this outlook index is that we can identify trends over time. So, we’ve now seen one more consecutive third quarter with declining optimism,” said Sheats,associate professor of practice in entrepreneurship in the Poole College of Management and executive director of the NC State Entrepreneurship Clinic.

“These data now seem to support the inference that within our entrepreneurship ecosystem, the first and second quarters are strong with regards to forward-looking optimism. But there is something systematic about the third and fourth quarters, in which ventures pull back a bit and show less optimism looking forward. This will be really interesting to explore in future iterations of the QuOTE survey. This is why we collect these data.”

Entrepreneurs’ optimism dropped in several categories, including:

  • 64.9 percent plan to hire, down from 73.8 percent
  • sales growth enthusiasm fell to 83.6 percent from 91.8 percent
  • capital spending will be less with 57.2 percent expecting to up spending compared to 60.6 percent the previous quarter

The City of Raleigh and the NC State Entrepreneurship Clinic along with the Poole College of Management partner to produce the survey.