Positive outlook for businesses in Bismarck-Mandan in 2019

BISMARCK, N.D. - Business owners say they're hopeful for an upturn, according to the Bismarck Mandan Chamber's 2019 economic outlook forum.

Business owners can look forward to an exciting 2019 in the Bismarck Mandan area. Employers are expected to see an increase in sales revenue, profitability, capital expenditures and more. That's according to the Bismarck-Mandan Chamber EDC's annual survey forecasts.

“There are a lot of positive bright spots in North Dakota and I also know that there are a lot of states that are looking at North Dakota as a great example of what to do versus what not to do,” said Starion President Arnie Strebe.

More optimism in the survey: 72 percent of businesses say they believe 2019 will be a better year than 2018. Only 8 percent say they're expecting a worse year. And while there are a lot of positives, employers are still learning how to fight through a workforce shortage.

“We do have a talent shortage in the state of North Dakota but I think that based on our economy being as strong as it is there will be other states that unfortunately for them will lose talent to North Dakota in the 2020-2021 time frame,” said Strebe.

Local agencies are doing their best to help out.

“We also see the chamber EDC doing a lot of work to recruit new employees and people to the area not just taking from other communities within the state of North Dakota but more importantly pulling regionally so we're getting that new blood and new workforce into the state,” said Bismarck-Mandan Chamber EDC Board President Molly Herrington.

The workforce issue and increased competition are expected to be the biggest challenges for businesses in the coming years.

Lawmakers also spent time at the forum, discussing issues they're working on including infrastructure, licensing and behavioral health.