VBR Releases Third Quarter, 2004 CEO Economic Outlook Survey ResultsSo. Burlington, VT- Results from the Vermont Business Roundtable’s (VBR)third quarter, 2004 CEO Economic Outlook Survey, show that, compared tothe previous quarter results, more of our member CEOs are planningincreases over the next six months in two important measures: capitalspending and employment. While projections for company sales areoptimistic, compared to the previous quarter results, a higher percentageof business leaders feel that sales are more likely to remain stable forthe next six months.Douglas J. Wacek, President & CEO of the Union Mutual of Vermont Companiesin Montpelier and Ernie Pomerleau, President & CEO of Pomerleau RealEstate in Burlington are members of the VBR. When asked to comment on hisCEO Economic Outlook Survey responses, Wacek stated that “continued growthand technological changes in internal business practices would stimulatethe need for additional staff at his company over the next severalmonths.” Pomerleau said that he expects an increase in company sales andcapital expenditures over the next six months. He said he has “seen amuch higher level of activity in development and brokerage opportunitiesfrom inquires both inside and outside the state this year.” PomerleauReal Estate is planning several remodels and expansions of existingprojects this year and they are actively reviewing several new onesprojected for 2005.The survey, modeled after the national Business Roundtable’s CEO EconomicOutlook survey, was conducted in early July and enjoyed a response rate of60% up from 40% last quarter. The key findings, which reflect themembership’s outlook for the next six months, include the followinghighlights:* 71% of responding CEOs expect an increase in consumer sales, 25% see nochange, and 4% anticipate a decrease. [Second quarter results: Increase80%, No Change 15%, Decrease 4%]* 51% expect capital spending to increase in the next six months, 42% seeno change, and 7% anticipate a decrease. [Second quarter results: Increase43%, No Change 41%, Decrease 15%]* 59% expect employment to increase in the next six months, 37% see nochange, and 4% anticipate a decrease. [Second quarter results: Increase50%, No Change 48%, Decrease 2%]* On average, CEOs expect GDP growth to be in the 4.1% range in 2004.[Second quarter results: 4.6%]”The diminished sales projections over the next six months reflect acontinuing concern by CEOs over the ongoing slump in consumer spending.Higher fuel prices are partly attributable to that measure. On the otherhand, there is an upturn in the projected capital outlays and new hiresexpected in the next six months, both of which are positive news for theVermont economy,” said VBR President Lisa Ventriss.Created in 1987 as a nonprofit, public interest organization, the VermontBusiness Roundtable is comprised of 120 CEOs of Vermont’s most active andcommitted businesses and employers dedicated to making Vermont the bestplace in America to do business, be educated, and live life. Memberbusinesses employ over 47,000 employees in virtually every county acrossVermont.