While Tennessee business leaders still feel good about the economy, they have begun to question whether it can sustain its pace.

The Tennessee Business Barometer fell sharply to 479 this month from a previous high of 606 in April and similar to the July 2017 index of 461. The online survey of business leaders across the state is measured quarterly by Middle Tennessee State University.

Find the full survey report and previous reports at http://www.mtsu.edu/consumer/reportsbarometer.php.

“Even though the decline in the Tennessee Business Barometer appears significant, it is not a cause for alarm,” said Tim Graeff, MTSU marketing professor and coordinator of the index through the Office of Consumer Research in MTSU’s Jones College of Business.

“Although the overall index has dipped to nearly where it stood one year ago, it is still well above where it was two years ago prior to the presidential election.”

Graeff noted that while business leaders question whether the current economic pace can be sustained, their overall outlook remains positive.

“Although a growing number have concerns for the future of the economy, the outlook among business leaders remains solidly positive,” he said. “Most have either positive (optimistic) or neutral views of the economy. Relatively few have negative views or believe the economy will get worse in the next 12 months.”

Respondents were also asked for their perceptions of business courts, which are designed to provide a structure for facilitating timely, effective and predictable resolutions to cases involving business or commercial disputes. Such specialized courts are intended to improve efficiency for litigants, Graeff noted.

The survey showed relatively few business leaders are aware of business courts or that a business court is being piloted in Tennessee.

The inaugural survey in July 2015 registered an index of 325. The current survey of 89 business leaders from across Tennessee was conducted in partnership with the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce and Industry between July 9 and July 16. The next survey is scheduled for October.