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Article | 5 min |
Hand drawing a 3D chart
A year ago, a headline “The Recession of 2023 might surprise everyone” would have been prescient simply because it didn’t happen. On the contrary, last year showed surprising resilience and a pace of growth no one expected, despite forecasts of a slowdown or recession by most economists. 2023 was supposed to have been the year in which the economy succumbed to the sharpest increase in interest rates in four decades; tightening lending standards by the banks; and the end of pandemic-era government spending. Accumulated savings from Covid-related shutdowns and receipts of stimulus checks were...
Article | 5 min |
Picture of statue at Federal Reserve
Commonly known as the Beige Book, this report is published eight times per year. Each Federal Reserve Bank gathers anecdotal information on current economic conditions in its District through reports from Bank and Branch directors and interviews with key business contacts, economists, market experts and other sources. The Beige Book summarizes this information by District and sector. An overall summary of the twelve district reports is prepared by a designated Federal Reserve Bank on a rotating basis. Overall Economic Activity Retail sales, including autos, remained mixed; sales of...
Article | 5 min |
Black and white image of hands typing on a keyboard
Banking partners you can count on to help you achieve growth goals Rockford, IL, along with the rest of the nation looks forward to better economic news in 2024. Regional manufacturing industries working with their banking partners have successfully survived economic turbulence with savvy business practices and smart money-management tools, said Illinois Bank & Trust, a division of HTLF Bank, CEO and President Jeff Hultman. “In general, people are still positive, but they are definitely feeling a little more stressed than a year ago in terms of outlook for business strength in 2024. I wouldn’t...
Article | 5 min |
Welder working on piece of equipment
The potentially transformative capabilities of advanced AI, automation, and robotics technology are ushering in a new era for manufacturing. Yet, at the same time, extracting value from the digital transformation is more complicated than it might seem. Case in point—an overwhelming 88% of companies report difficulties measuring value from technological investments . The same report found that 85% of companies struggle to simultaneously update operating models to accommodate their new visions and cover the upfront investment costs for new technology. These challenges are further compounded for...
Article | 3 min |
Business owner holding up his credit card
Between costs like rent, inventory, and payroll, it can be hard for businesses to cover expenses. Even if you have enough cash on hand to fulfill your obligations, an unexpected cost could derail your operation. Could a business credit card help? High interest rates might make you hesitant to open up a credit card for your business; however, obtaining a business card can be advantageous in certain circumstances. But before determining if this financial tool is right for your business, you first need to know its ins and outs. Why Should a Small Business Have a Credit Card? The idea of charging...