Afternoon Coffee: ISM Survey Shows Industry Leaders Wary But Expect Growth in 2019; Upwork, Microsoft Partner on Freelancer Market

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ISM’s economic survey came out Monday, and while it shows that purchasing and supply chain executives expect growth in 2019, they aren’t as optimistic about economic conditions as they were when the report came out about a year ago, The Wall Street Journal reports.

The Institute for Supply Management’s semi annual economic forecast said just under half of survey respondents believe 2019 will be better than 2018, with the rest saying it will be the same or worse, the WSJ reports.

“The panel of purchasing and supply executives expects a 5.7% net increase in overall revenues for 2019,” the report says.

The WSJ said the survey also has an update on tariffs: “Compared with the ISM’s last economic survey, conducted in May, fewer companies now expect tariffs to raise the price of their goods to customers, or to cause delays and disruptions in their supply chains.” But the survey says 65% of industry executives are seeking new supply sources or other ways to mitigate tariffs, the Journal reports.

Joining Forces on ‘365 Freelance Toolkit’

Upwork has announced that Microsoft has chosen Upwork as its launch partner for the “Microsoft 365 freelance toolkit.” According to the announcement, the toolkit is “an integrated workforce collaboration solution that helps enterprises work with freelancers at scale.” Integration with the Microsoft toolkit will support Upwork Enterprise clients development of “flexible talent programs.”

The announcement states that “built-in product features and integrations with Microsoft Power BI, Teams, SharePoint and Flow guide enterprises through the freelance engagement process.” Microsoft’s website tells clients and prospects that the “freelance toolkit builds on your existing technology investments and provides tools, templates and best practices that help enterprises launch, execute and manage freelance programs at scale.”

Peter Loforte, general manager for Microsoft Office, said: “At Microsoft, we have embraced the freelance model within specific teams to increase efficiencies and access the expertise of freelancers from around the world. Together with Upwork, using the Microsoft 365 freelance toolkit, we’re also empowering other enterprises with a robust solution that leverages their existing Microsoft tools to extend workforce capabilities and simplify work with freelance teams.”

Brexit News Drags Market

And finally, an update on Brexit: British PM Theresa May delayed a crucial Brexit vote set for tomorrow, and markets reacted poorly, with the pound tumbling, Bloomberg News reports.

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