Tag Archives: Survey

Arizona Commercial Real Estate Development

Survey: Phoenix Commercial Real Estate in Recovery

It’s shaky, but improving. Experts say the Phoenix-area commercial real estate market is now officially in a slow recovery mode. A full 100 percent of the real estate brokers participating in a quarterly survey by the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University indicate they feel “optimistic,” and 84 percent believe the market is on an upswing.

The participants recently came together for a forum and the survey about progress on apartments, retail, industrial, offices and more. They say land prices are still going up and that some areas of the Valley are already doing better than others. However, don’t expect any drastic changes over the next year.

“We expect 2015 to be much like 2014, so we’re likely looking at one more year of slow recovery,” explains one of the forum’s organizers, Mark Stapp, director of the Master of Real Estate Development program at the W. P. Carey School of Business. “Over the long run, we’ll grow, but in ways we haven’t in the past — like more mature, established markets that focus on infill and developing in context with what’s already there. Some reasons for our current slowdown include tight lending standards, sluggish job and wage growth, and the need to absorb around 150,000 new homes built between 2000 and 2007. I also think it will be at least 2016 before any significant new retail space comes onto the market.”

Those participating in The Commercial Real Estate Broker Forum come from a variety of sectors, specializations and brokerage houses across the Valley. The event is moderated and co-organized by Pete Bolton, executive vice president and managing director of Newmark Grubb Knight Frank’s Phoenix office. Quarterly reports from the forums are available for download at the W. P. Carey School’s website, http://research.wpcarey.asu.edu/real-estate/commercial-reports under “Commercial Brokers Survey.”

Here are some of the Quarter 3, 2014 results:

• Where are we in the cycle?
92 percent – Recovery, 8 percent – Expansion, 0 percent – Correction, 0 percent – Maturity, 0 percent – Recession
NOTE: 100 percent said the area was in recovery in Quarter 1, 2014.

• In what direction is the metro Phoenix market moving?
84 percent – Up, 8 percent – Stationary, 8 percent – Down

• What is the overall feeling about the metro Phoenix commercial real estate market?
100 percent – Optimistic, 0 percent – Pessimistic

• Is uncertainty in the federal government affecting the commercial real estate market and hindering our local growth potential?
100 percent – Yes, 0 percent – No

• Have land prices reached their peak?
82 percent – No, 18 percent – Yes

• Have homebuilders stopped buying land?
91 percent – No, 9 percent – Yes

• Is the tight inventory of homes on the market affecting the commercial side at all?
50 percent – Yes, 50 percent – No effect, 0 percent – Not yet, but it will

• Where are apartment rents headed in the next six months?
55 percent – Stationary, 45 percent – Up, 0 percent – Down

• Where are office vacancy rates headed in the next six months?
73 percent – Down, 9 percent – Stationary, 18 percent – Up

• Where are retail vacancy rates headed in the next six months?
64 percent – Down, 36 percent – Stationary, 0 percent – Up

• Is this a landlord or tenant industrial market?
83 percent – Tenant, 17 percent – Landlord

• Where are interest rates for commercial loans headed in the next six months?
75 percent – Stationary, 25 percent – Up, 0 percent – Down

• Where are investor returns headed in the next six months?
92 percent – Stationary, 8 percent – Down, 0 percent – Up

Deliver on Your ROI, Business Meetings

Survey: Half want to own their own business

Half (50 percent) of working adults in the U.S. either currently own or want to own their own businesses, according to a new national University of Phoenix School of Business survey. Of working Americans who do not currently own a business, nearly two in five (39 percent) hope to do so in the future.

Age makes a significant difference as nearly half (52 percent) of workers in their 20s who do not currently own a business hope to do so in the future, followed by 50 percent of workers in their 30s and 35 percent in their 40s. Second careering may also lead some workers to consider entrepreneurship later in their careers. In fact, more than a quarter (26 percent) of workers in their 50s and 17 percent of workers age 60 or older who do not own a business, want to do so in the future.

The recent online survey of more than 1,000 working adults in the U.S. was conducted on behalf of University of Phoenix School of Business by Harris Poll in July 2014.

University of Phoenix School of Business is hosting more than 40 events nationwide in August to help prospective and current entrepreneurs learn how to launch and sustain successful businesses. More information about the events and locations can be found at www.phoenix.edu/thinkbig.

Barriers to business ownership

Why haven’t more American workers started their own businesses? According to the survey, the top barrier for working adults who want to own their own businesses is a lack of adequate finances (67 percent). Prospective business owners also say they are held back because they need more education or training (33 percent), do not know enough about running a business (32 percent), have not found the right idea or concept (30 percent), do not have the time (22 percent) and need to develop leadership skills (17 percent).

“Starting your own business can be an exciting and fulfilling pursuit, but requires significant planning, resources and business knowledge,” said Michael Bevis, director of Academic Affairs for University of Phoenix and faculty member for the School of Business. “Many potential entrepreneurs have great ideas and a strong understanding of specific industries, but often do not have the business background to turn concepts into profitable ventures. Business education can help entrepreneurs fill knowledge gaps and strengthen business acumen.”

If you were the boss

More than three quarters (76 percent) of all working adults identify things that they would do differently if they were in charge of their workplaces. For example, 37 percent would provide more training and education opportunities for employees, 35 percent would hire better-qualified employees and 32 percent would create more flexible work environments, such as offering flex hours or the option to work from home. Twenty-seven percent say they would rely more on teamwork and collaboration. The majority of working adults say they would be or are great bosses, with 85 percent of self-employed adults and 76 percent of workers who are not self-employed indicating this.

Career stagnancy and being entrepreneurial in your own career

Nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of all working adults say they currently have limited opportunities within their companies. That said, many workers also admit that they may need to be more proactive in managing their own careers. More than half (53 percent) of working adults say they should be more entrepreneurial in their careers. Notably, even those well into their careers express an interest in being more entrepreneurial, specifically 47 percent of those in their 40s, 46 percent of those in their 50s and 43 percent who are 60 or older. Two in five (40 percent) working adults have not set career goals for themselves.

“Being entrepreneurial does not just mean starting your own company; it is also about approaching your existing career with purpose,” added Bevis. “Do not rely on your employer to manage your career. Setting career goals, developing a strong personal brand and constantly looking for ways to grow and tie your responsibilities to the company’s bottom line can help you succeed and feel more engaged in your career.”

Bevis offers the following recommendations for individuals who want to start businesses or be more entrepreneurial in their careers:

Tips for owning your own business

* Start with a business idea that not only fulfills specific customer needs, but has enough market demand. Support your idea through market research, competitive intelligence and target audience assessment.
* Identify your target audiences, understand what motivates them to act and learn how to grow long-term relationships with your customers.
* Create a business plan and use it to set priorities, address gaps and lay out your growth strategy.
* Financial planning can be one of the most challenging aspects for business owners who are not trained in this area. Consider additional education or plan for resources to address financial planning and management.
* Develop an organization and management structure so your company is poised for growth.
* Do not operate in a vacuum – network and learn from other successful entrepreneurs.

The Small Business Administration website offers a variety of business plan templates at www.sba.gov.

Tips for being more entrepreneurial in your career

* Be knowledgeable about your organization, industry and career growth opportunities.
* Think like a marketer. Develop a strategic business plan to grow and improve your personal brand within your organization. Start with a mission statement. Other areas to consider include: audience assessment; Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats (SWOT) analysis; points of differentiation; promotion strategy; and ongoing personal development.
* Keep your personal brand current and sustainable by knowing how your skills and experience fit into the big picture of your organization.
* Network and engage with individuals who have diverse experiences.
* Identify and engage with a mentor. This individual does not necessarily have to be in your own company. Find someone who you admire professionally and whose success mirrors your goals.
* Identify and engage with a sponsor in your own company. This person can champion your success and advocate for your growth within the company.

University of Phoenix School of Business offers associate, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs with specializations across a wide range of business disciplines, including entrepreneurship, marketing, human resources and finance. For more information about University of Phoenix School of Business degree programs, visit www.phoenix.edu.

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Survey: Businesses Not Utilizing Tax Technologies

GoDaddy, the world’s largest technology provider dedicated to small businesses, announced findings from a survey of 600 small business owners. The survey explored how small businesses manage their finances throughout the year and the impact that has during tax season. The survey reveals that more than half of small businesses surveyed still use manual processes – typically a spreadsheet or pen and paper – to track finances. In addition, almost 40 percent of these businesses are spending multiple days on tax preparation.

While small business owners are known for being optimistic, confident and passionate about their trade, business functions such as bookkeeping and taxes are seen as burdensome. In fact, 40 percent of small business owners say bookkeeping and taxes are the most unpleasant part of owning a small business, right up there with going to the dentist and public speaking. Additionally, 40 percent of small business owners are only ‘somewhat confident’ in managing business finances and taxes.

“This April, nearly 23 million small businesses in the U.S. will file a Schedule C form, and yet there are still some small business owners who have no idea how much money they owe and have not set aside money for taxes,” said GoDaddy Vice President of Applications Steven Aldrich. “At GoDaddy, we understand how painful tax time is and how critical it is for small business owners to report tax information accurately. We’re committed to empowering the small business owner by providing them with products like GoDaddy Online Bookkeeping, which is both very easy to use and dramatically simplifies tax preparation.”

The survey also indicated that using more sophisticated tools, such as software or online services, to manage finances, seems to give businesses insight into how their business is performing and how to accurately project growth and financial results. For example, a full 60 percent of small businesses using software or online services to manage finances performed as they expected to perform financially, whereas just 46 percent of small businesses that manage finances manually performed as expected.

The survey results also reveal that:

  • Almost half (46 percent) of small business owners reported they do not work with an accountant.
  • Of those small business owners who do work with an accountant, 47 percent see their accountant once a year at tax time or only when they have a question or need help.
  • In the last 12 months, nearly a quarter of small business owners said they had lost track of whether a customer has paid them or not, or could see it happening in the future.
  • 32 percent of small business owners do not set aside money throughout the year to pay income taxes.
  • 12 percent of small business owners have no idea how much they will owe in income taxes, while 74 percent reported that they usually know the “ballpark” of what they owe, while just 15 percent know exactly how much they owe.

GoDaddy Online Bookkeeping empowers small businesses, helping them monitor business metrics easily and enabling them to be more prepared and organized at tax time. The tool helps small business owners manage taxes, create, send and track estimates and invoices, track sales and expenses, as well as profits and loss, and categorizes transactions into IRS categories, among other capabilities.

“As entrepreneurs, small business owners are responsible for a number of business tasks, including marketing, inventory management, accounts payable, accounts receivable, payroll – all of these different areas that large companies have dedicated departments and specialists for,” said Danni Ackerman, founder of The Danni App. “It is imperative that we find tools to help us become experts in these areas. GoDaddy Online Bookkeeping has been an absolute godsend for me, helping me stay organized and manage my business’ finances effectively and efficiently.”

To learn about GoDaddy Online Bookkeeping, visit: http://x.co/GoDaddyOB.

IP

Lewis Roca Rothgerber's IP Team earns No. 1 ranking

Lewis Roca Rothgerber’s Intellectual Property Group received more mentions by Fortune 500 companies for IP litigation than any other firm in the United States, according to Corporate Counsel Magazine’s 2013 survey, “Who Represents America’s Biggest Companies.”  The survey also recognized the firm’s patent prosecution practice.

Michael McCue, Co-Practice Group Leader of the firm’s Intellectual Property practice, said, “The survey is a testament to our practical, cost-effective representation.”  “We are focused on client service and value, not billable hours and maximizing our own profits to the detriment of our clients.”  The firm’s IP practice has been built by hiring laterals from top firms and offering flexible and creative pricing customized to clients’ needs.  The firm’s IP group serves clients across the U.S. from offices in Silicon Valley, Phoenix, Las Vegas, Denver and Tucson.

IP

Lewis Roca Rothgerber’s IP Team earns No. 1 ranking

Lewis Roca Rothgerber’s Intellectual Property Group received more mentions by Fortune 500 companies for IP litigation than any other firm in the United States, according to Corporate Counsel Magazine’s 2013 survey, “Who Represents America’s Biggest Companies.”  The survey also recognized the firm’s patent prosecution practice.

Michael McCue, Co-Practice Group Leader of the firm’s Intellectual Property practice, said, “The survey is a testament to our practical, cost-effective representation.”  “We are focused on client service and value, not billable hours and maximizing our own profits to the detriment of our clients.”  The firm’s IP practice has been built by hiring laterals from top firms and offering flexible and creative pricing customized to clients’ needs.  The firm’s IP group serves clients across the U.S. from offices in Silicon Valley, Phoenix, Las Vegas, Denver and Tucson.

networking

Survey: Quality Trumps Quantity When Networking

The more business acquaintances you have, the merrier you might be. But the quality of those contacts has a bigger impact on your career success, a new Robert Half Technology survey of information technology (IT) professionals suggests. Sixty-three percent of IT workers polled recently rated the quality of their professional network as “very important” to their overall career success, compared to 46 percent who felt the same way about the size of their network. When it comes to making new connections, (44 percent) of IT professionals surveyed prefer to network online and 22 percent favor doing it in person.

The survey was developed by Robert Half Technology, a leading provider of information technology (IT) professionals on a project and full-time basis. The responses are from over 7,500 IT workers to a Web survey conducted by Robert Half Technology in February 2013.
IT professionals were asked, “How important is the quality of your professional network to your overall career success?” Their responses:

Very important: 63%
Somewhat important: 33%
Not important: 4%

IT professionals also were asked, “How important is the size of your professional network to your overall career success?” Their responses:

Very important: 46%
Somewhat important: 47%
Not important: 7%

“Knowing someone professionally and being willing to go to bat for that person are two different things,” said John Reed, senior executive director of Robert Half Technology. “You may have hundreds of LinkedIn connections, but if the relationships are superficial, your contacts may not be very helpful when you’re seeking professional advice or assistance with a job search.”

Reed added, “Quality connections take time to establish, but they are a valuable career safety net, whether someone is just starting out or has many years of experience.”

Robert Half Technology provides five pitfalls to avoid when networking:

1. Losing touch. Keep the lines of communication open by offering a note of congratulations to a contact who was recently promoted or asking to meet for lunch. Set aside time each week for these types of networking activities.

2. Exhausting your resources. Most people are happy to help on occasion, but avoid overburdening one contact with repeated requests. Broaden your efforts and tap others in your network if you have trouble overcoming a particular career challenge.

3. Forgetting your p’s and q’s. A little gratitude can go a long way toward maintaining positive relationships. Always show appreciation to those who act on your behalf, even if their efforts don’t result in the desired outcome.

4. Taking a generalist approach. Instead of sending a mass email to everyone in your network asking for assistance, try customized, targeted messages to specific contacts.

5. Failing to return the favor. Networking is a two-way street: Look for opportunities to help your contacts whenever possible, and you’ll find that others are happy to do the same for you.

economy

U.S. Business Leaders Showing Signs of Optimism

On the heels of a pessimistic outlook during the fourth quarter of 2012, US business leaders show signs of increased optimism in the performance of the nation’s economy according to the latest data from the Grant Thornton International Business Report, a survey of 3,200 business leaders in 44 countries. In first quarter 2013, optimism among U.S. business leaders rose from -4 percent to 31 percent.

This finding accompanies IBR data that reveals an improvement in sentiment about most areas of business performance and stability. The net percent balance of US business leaders expecting revenues to increase in 2013 rose by eight percentage points from the fourth quarter. In addition, profitability expectations rose sharply in first quarter 2013, up 14 percentage points from the previous quarter. Encouragingly, hiring expectations in the United States remain above the global average. A net balance of 29 percent of business leaders in the United States foresee an increase in hiring during the coming year, a four-percentage point increase from the previous quarter and five percentage points above the global average.

“With the fiscal cliff and presidential election behind us, the anxiety has seemingly lessened among business executives,” said Stephen Chipman, chief executive officer of Grant Thornton LLP. “While uncertainty is still present, it’s encouraging to see such a large increase in optimism among the nation’s business leaders—particularly when it comes to employment, which is key to US economic health.”

The increase in optimism in the US economy is on par with what is occurring in other markets, with global business optimism up to its highest level since early 2011. Globally, a net balance of 27 percent of businesses are optimistic about the economic outlook, up from just 4 percent from the previous quarter. Following the United States, the next two largest economies in the world also saw sentiment improve. China business optimism rose from a net balance of 19 percent to 29 percent while Japan saw a major increase in optimism, from a net balance of -70 percent to -2 percent.

Still, there are some areas for improvement. Despite a modest uptick from the previous quarter, few U.S. businesses plan to invest in research and development in 2013, with a net balance of only 12 percent expecting an increase during the next 12 months. In addition, 36 percent of U.S. business leaders cite regulations and red tape as the number one factor stopping them from growing their operations in the next 12 months.

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Financial Awareness Gap Still High for LGBT Investors

LGBT investors indicate high levels of post-election optimism about the political and economic direction of the country, as well as confidence about their own financial future, according to a recent Wells Fargo nationwide survey.  LGBT investors also show a great deal of optimism around the future of same-sex marriage and civil unions.  The picture is not entirely rosy, however.  Despite steps toward retirement preparation, LGBT investors remain concerned about saving enough for retirement, and there continues to be underlying confusion about transfer rights and benefits for same-sex couples.

Two-thirds (66%) of LGBT investors are optimistic about the political direction of the country, compared with 43% of the overall population.  Three in four expect a stronger U.S. economy over the next two years, much higher than the general population of 47%.  And two-thirds (65%) anticipate stronger local economies over the next two years, compared to 45% overall.

LGBT investors are more positive regarding their current financial situation than the general public.  Three in five (59%) report they feel financially comfortable, compared to 51% of all U.S. adults.  Two-thirds (66%) are confident in their financial future versus 52% of U.S. adults.  LGBT adults are also more likely to report being better off financially then they were three years ago (65%), compared to 51% of all adults.  And two thirds (66%) feel secure in their current job situation, higher than U.S. adults (55%).

“While optimism and confidence among LGBT investors remain high, there is clearly an awareness gap related to the very complex financial issues facing same-sex couples,” said Kyle Young, Financial Advisor and Vice-President, Investment Officer for Wells Fargo Advisors.  “Lack of Federal recognition of same-sex couples adds many layers of challenges to retirement and estate planning for all LGBT couples.  Proper analysis and planning that comes with a financial advisor who understands the landscape of today’s differing state-by-state approaches is essential.”

LGBT adults appear to be taking more steps to better save and prepare for retirement. On average, non-retired and retired LGBT adults report higher median net savings than the overall population. Over half of LGBT non-retirees (55%) report having a detailed retirement savings plan in place, compared to 42% of all adults.  These LGBT respondents are more likely to have developed plans with a paid financial advisor (42%) while an additional 22% used web-based tools and calculators to assist in the process.

Nevertheless, concerns remain.  Many LGBT respondents are concerned about saving enough for retirement (53%), and only 55% are confident they will be able to afford their current lifestyles in retirement.  In a list of financial concerns, “saving for retirement” was the top concern for pre-retired LGBT respondents at 38%, followed by healthcare costs (18%) and paying monthly bills (16%).

LGBT adults with children consistently report more financial challenges, including preparing for retirement, than LGBT adults without children.  LGBT with children feel less financially comfortable than those without (42% vs. 61%), and reported less confident in their financial future (40% with children vs. 68% without).  LGBT with children are also twice as likely to report that high living expenses are limiting their ability to save for the future (51% with children vs. 26% without).

Almost all LGBT adults (92%) believe that within their lifetime, federal laws on survivor rights and benefits will become the same for same-sex couples as they are for heterosexual couples.  Nearly half (43%) believe this will happen within the next three years, while 22% believe it will happen in the next four or five years.

Despite heightened attention to same-sex marriage and civil unions, tremendous confusion remains around transfer rights and benefits for same-sex couples.  Nearly half (44%) of LGBT respondents did not know that Social Security income and benefits are not transferable to the spouse or partner in a same sex couple.  Similarly, fewer than half (41-47%) of LGBT respondents correctly answered that other assets and benefits like real estate (47%), life insurance (44%) and retirement savings (41%) may be transferable depending on the state in which the same-sex couple resides.  Only 36% of LGBT adults know that Federal taxes on survivor assets or benefits are different for the spouse/partner in a same-sex marriage than in a heterosexual marriage.

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CFOs Believe Economy Will Not Improve During the Next Six Months

Fifty-four percent of CFOs in the U.S. do not foresee any changes in the health of the economy during the next six months, according to a survey by Grant Thornton LLP. Still, most CFOs surveyed are optimistic about maintaining (45 percent) or increasing (37 percent) their headcount over the next six months.

According to the survey, the biggest barrier to employee and company financial growth is the cost of employee benefits, with 56 percent identifying healthcare and pensions as the prime culprits. Furthermore, as the cost of healthcare grows, 77 percent of those surveyed anticipate company and employee contributions to increase over the next year. Yet benefits such as life insurance and disability are expected to remain mostly unchanged.

“With the economy in a fragile recovery, CFOs are most concerned about rising healthcare costs when it comes to compensation and benefits,” said Ralph Nefdt, office managing partner of Grant Thornton LLP’s Phoenix office. “Most companies will continue to see a significant increase in healthcare costs unless they have taken proactive steps to promote wellness and better utilization of healthcare benefits, which can help ease the increase of these costs.”

The survey also shows that 45 percent of those surveyed believe that deficit reduction is the number one initiative to improve overall economic optimism, while 27 percent believe job creation is the solution. In addition, 46 percent said that a tax incentive is not the solution. Even so, 30 percent of those surveyed believe a direct tax incentive for hiring new workers would increase the likelihood of expanding their workforce.

“CFOs are in a prime position to judge the health of the economy, as they have an inside look at their companies’ hiring practices as it relates to financial health of the organization,” added Nefdt. “It remains to be seen how upcoming events, such as the Presidential Election, will impact that outlook.”

About the Survey
Grant Thornton conducted the CFO Survey between June 21 and July 24, with 400 CFOs and comptrollers participating. The survey has a confidence interval of +/- 4.9 percent at a 95 percent confidence level.

E000249

Survey Projects Pay Increases Across Arizona in 2013

Mountain States Employers Council (MSEC), a leader in human resource and employment law services for the business community, announced the findings of its recent employee pay projections survey and found that Arizona employers are anticipating a 2.8 percent pay increase in 2013. The projected increase is higher than the 2.4 percent projected increase for 2012.

Survey findings were collected from 580 organizations in Arizona, Colorado and Wyoming and represented a cross-section of industries, including the government, manufacturing, natural resources, non-profit, technology, financial and real estate, insurance, health care, retail and wholesale, service, construction, and utilities.

“Our survey data indicates that employers in Arizona are looking more positively at economic conditions in 2013 and projecting continued improvements in employee pay,” said Patty Goodwin, director of surveys for Mountain States Employers Council.  “Mountain States Employers Council surveys member organizations throughout the year to build an understanding of compensation budget and views related to economic conditions.  Survey data can then help employers across the state with total compensation planning and benchmarking for their organizations.”

Key findings from the survey included:
> Pay increase projections by location. Of the three states surveyed, employers in Arizona reported the highest pay increase projection at 2.8 percent, while Colorado and Wyoming came in at 2.4 percent and 2.2 percent, respectively.  Metro Phoenix employers projected a 2.9 percent pay increase; Tucson employers surveyed predicted a 2.6 percent increase.
> Arizona non-profit and public sector employees projected to see greatest increase. Non-profit employers across Arizona are forecasting raises of 3.4 percent in 2013; government employers (not including utilities) are projecting a 3.1 percent increase.
> Arizona manufacturing industry reports lowest projected increase. Manufacturing employers report a 1.9 percent projected increase in pay for 2013, and come in the lowest of industries participating in the survey.
> Compared to previous years, Arizona employers’ projections are up from the 2.4 percent increase in pay estimated for 2012. By industry, Arizona’s public employers last year reported the lowest pay projection at 0.0 percent and the retail/wholesale industry the highest projection at 2.8 percent.

“Mountain States Employers Council watches a number of economic and compensation indicators to assist Arizona decision makers in planning future salary adjustments and the surveys help provide a complete look at the local market,” said William L. Smith, Jr., MSEC vice president.  “Our goal is to support local organizations by serving as a clearinghouse of business, economic and human resources information used in the development of personnel policies, benefit design, and compensation plans.”

For more information, visit MSEC.org.

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Survey reveals trends in employer health plans

In spite of the passage of health care reform efforts, health care costs will continue to increase for both plan sponsors and their employees, according to the bagnall company, an Owner-Member Firm of United Benefit Advisors (UBA), the nation’s largest independent benefits advisory organization. Preliminary results released by UBA from its 2012 UBA Health Plan Survey, the nation’s largest health plan survey with 17,905 plans from 11,711 employers — and the only one of its kind to offer local benefits benchmarking capabilities — show some startling trends in employer health plans.

The bagnall company can provide employers with a benchmarking report for their region, industry and size, so businesses can determine which types of plans are most popular in their industry, which plans are being phased out, average employee costs and participation, and many more pieces of highly relevant information that can help with price negotiation and communications of their benefit plan to employees.

One trend that stands out in this year’s survey shows that consumer driven health plans (CDHPs) in the U.S. experienced a decline in the percentage of plans offered for the first time since 2007. CDHP growth stagnation is a critical trend that businesses should consider when making health plan purchasing decisions. Though CDHP plans are popular in some regions of the country (particularly the Northeast), the 2012 Health Plan Survey’s closer look at why some areas have a high occurrence of CDHP plans, along with surprising findings on the lack of savings with CDHP plans, arms smart employers with key data that might lead them to reconsider offering them.

Other key national statistics from this year’s Survey results:

* Clients of UBA Owner-Member Firms average renewal for all plan types increased by 5 percent; about ½ the current trend.
* PPO plans have nearly two-thirds of all enrolled employees (61.7 percent).
* The average monthly employee contribution for plans with contributions for all plan types is $126 for single and $494 for family.
* The average employer contribution to a health reimbursement arrangement (HRA) was down from 2011 for a single employee and up for a family. Employer health savings account (HSA) contributions continued to decline.
* Four-fifths of all wellness plans (81 percent) offered a health risk assessment.
* As a direct result of PPACA changes, 91.7 percent of all plans now offer an unlimited lifetime maximum benefit compared with 81.3 percent in 2011 and just 16.1 percent in 2010.
* Less than half (48.0 percent) of all covered employees also elected to cover their dependents, a decline of 1.9 percent.

As health care plan offerings and the federal regulatory environment become more complex, benchmarking data such as the 2012 UBA Health Plan Survey have become increasingly critical for employers looking to manage their health care benefit programs effectively.

“The intent of the survey is to provide employers of all sizes with the data they need to manage their health care benefit programs effectively,” says Mark Bagnall, president, the bagnall company. “Employers will find the United Benefit Advisors (UBA) Health Plan Survey provides contains more participants and data in their category than other industry survey. For employers with fewer than 1,000 employees (which represents more than 99 percent of the employers in the U.S.) and for employers who have operations in multiple locations, this survey is the only source of reliable regional – and in many cases, state – health plan benchmarks by size and industry.”

With more Owner-Member Firms located in virtually all U S markets, UBA uniquely provides employers of all sizes the data they need to remain competitive in their local markets. The 2012 UBA Health Plan Survey won’t be available to the public until Nov. 1. Employers can get inside access to the hundreds of thousands of pages of granular state, regional and industry data through a benchmarking report offered by contacting the bagnall company.