By Marc Mainville
PBN Contributing Writer
PROVIDENCE – Confidence in the economy appeared to be slowly growing among the local business leaders who attended the annual economic outlook breakfast held by the Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce and Sovereign Bank.
There were more than 400 attendees at the event, which took place at The Westin Providence Tuesday morning.
After hearing from event organizers about trends and statistics in areas ranging from consumer confidence to hospitality, attendees participated in a survey about their perception of the economy.
Sixty-four percent of attendees felt the national economy would get either “somewhat better” or “much better” during 2012.
Locally, however, the improvement numbers were much more modest. Only 25 percent felt things would be in better shape, while 54 percent felt it would stay about the same.
“That’s a big shift from where we were a few years ago,” said Laurie White, president of the Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce. “People were really feeling fearful that things were not going to turn around for them so the fact that people feel the worst is over, that they are going to start spending again - and perhaps begin some modest hiring - is very, very positive.”
Additionally, survey participants were asked about other topics seen by the Chamber and Sovereign Bank as having a potentially large impact on the economy.
The survey respondents were greatly in favor of turning Twin River and Newport Grand into full-fledged casinos, and greatly opposed to a proposed 2-percent increase in the state’s meal and beverage tax.
They also felt it would be a bad idea for Providence to declare bankruptcy, but felt that the declaration would have little effect on decisions they made with their own business.