By Vicki Needham - 10/29/12 09:08 PM EDT
The biggest and most immediate concern, although it hasn't increased since the July survey, is the looming fiscal cliff of tax increases and spending cuts that could go into effect next year if Congress and the White House fail to reach an agreement.
President Obama and some lawmakers have indicated that they expect a short-term deal to get them through until next summer, when a broader agreement can be crafted.
Meanwhile, about 80 percent reported that their wages and salaries have been unchanged, more than two-thirds reported that employment has remained unchanged and more than half expect employment to remain unchanged over the next six months.
Overall, only 17 percent reported rising wages and salaries, compared with 25 percent in July, while none reported falling incomes.
Meanwhile, about 18 percent reported rising employment, down from 22 percent in the July survey.
The panelists continue their stable outlook concerning employment over the next six months, with about 55 percent saying their employment levels are likely to remain unchanged, while 28 percent expect increases.
About 14 percent expect their firm to shed jobs through attrition, while 3 percent say firings would happen through significant layoffs.
On an optimistic note, 31 percent reported rising capital expenditures up from 20 percent in the last survey, although almost two-thirds of the panelists reported unchanged levels.
About 61 percent said capital spending has remained the same over the past three months.
During the past several months, concerns about the European crisis have dropped, with about 34 percent saying it has directly led to a decrease in their company’s sales year-to-date, much less than the 47 percent who reported that in July.
Still, about 60 percent say their sales have stayed the same, up from the 51 percent this summer.
With the labor market stagnating, about 58 percent of businesses reported unchanged profit margins over the past three months, while 27 percent reported rising profit margins and 15 percent said they were falling — all similar to July's levels, suggesting stability.
Meanwhile, businesses don't expect the third round of quantitative easing by the Federal Reserve to indirectly affect their company’s sales over the next six months.
The central bank said they would buy up $40 billion in mortgage-backed securities a month until the job market significantly improves.