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Charlotte Area

Chamber Business Outlook

http://66.225.205.104/JR20100127.mp3

Charlotte-area businesses surveyed by the city and the chamber of commerce say they expect moderate economic growth this year. The results were released at Charlotte Chamber event this morning. WFAE's Julie Rose reports: After the losses and layoffs of 2009, a lot of Charlotte-area businesses seem pretty positive about their prospects for 2010. In a survey by the city and chamber of commerce, more local businesses said they plan to hire rather than fire workers this year. Half of them expect their sales to be up at least 10 percent. "We are going to be seeing some growth," says Terri DeBoo, even though she works in one of Charlotte's hardest-hit sectors. "I'm in the construction industry so we have seen a dramatic slow-down, um, so we kind of planned ourselves, steeled ourselves, made sure we were a healthier company," says DeBoo. "So we're ready to go when things start picking up." DeBoo is director of marketing for All American Roofing and she's about as optimistic a businessperson as you'll find in Charlotte right now. Based on the annual BusinessFirst survey, the worst is over and we're in for a year of "moderate" economic growth. Wells Fargo economist John Silvia told the group that home values and incomes will improve in Charlotte this year, but they won't yield nearly the tax revenues we've come to rely on. "It was great fun the last 10 or 15 years," said Silvia. "But now we have to deal with some adjustments and some changes. And if we get moderate economic growth - which I think we do - it may not meet the expectations of a lot of people in this community." Those expectations might include ballparks, museums, light rail lines and roads. According to the new BusinessFirst survey, the shine has already come off Charlotte: Only 56 percent of businesses feel positively about the region's business climate today compared to 82 percent a year ago.