The shore business outlook is optimistic, however tempered with a heavy dose of caution.

During the presentation of the results of the 2012 Business Outlook Survey for Ocean and Monmouth County, the consensus is businesses are expected to see an increase in sale and profits and even a quarter of them are planning to add employees, but they're not doing so willy nilly.

At a presentation sponsored by the Monmouth Ocean Development Council, Stephen Reed, shareholder for the CPA and consulting firm Cowan Gunteski & Co, told an audience of the shore businesses community that the numbers are increasingly better than they've been in the past.

Reed notes "these are the best results we've seen in the past three years or so. I take this as an optimistic approach where we are trying to get out of this, and I think we will, it's just not going to be an overnight recovery."

About 53 percent said they expect the U.S. economy to be the same in 2012; 25 percent said it would be better; and 22 percent said it would be worse.

About 46 percent said they expect the New Jersey economy to be the same in 2012; 32 percent said it would be better; and 22 percent said it would be worse.

They were more confident in their own business. About 68 percent said they expect increases in sales and 72 percent said they expect increases in profits.

71 percent said they expect employment to remain the same; 25 percent said employment would rise; and 4 percent said employment would fall.

He believes a lot of that guarded optimism is due to the instability overseas.

"I think there are multiple things going on, one of the things is Iran and the potential of military action potential in the oil supply, we've heard gas might go from four to five dollars in the summer time." Says Reed.

He believes that while these are positive numbers to see now, it will take three to five years to get to pre-recession figures. Past that it will take another three to five years for additional growth. He expects a five to ten year time span to see true growth and prosperity.