Survey: Business Leaders’ Outlook Gets More Optimistic

CLEVELAND, Ohio – Six months into the coronavirus pandemic, the leaders of “middle market” businesses are cautiously optimistic, according to KeyBank’s quarterly survey.

In the survey, conducted in September, 400 business owners and executives at middle market companies – that is, those in the $10 million to $2 billion range – largely felt better about their own business than the state and national economy.

When asked about their outlook for the next 12 months, 59% responded “excellent” or “very good” for their own business, compared with 41% for the state economy at 40% for the national economy. 

Compared to the second-quarter survey in June, the leaders outlook on their own business has improved with more saying they feel “very good” and fewer (4%) saying they rate their outlook as “poor.”

“When the pandemic began, our clients felt like they were driving a car through the fog. They had a difficult time making projections without any insight into their customers’ plans or the duration and severity of the pandemic,” said Skip Watson, Great Lakes regional sales executive for KeyBank, in the report. “Now, they’ve grown better at managing through the pandemic and are prepared to do so longer term, so there’s greater optimism and more clarity to see through the windshield for the next few months.”

The optimism about their own businesses, KeyBank said in its report, could be tied to acting “swiftly and decisively against the virus,” as 85% of respondents said their took additional safety measures, 52% sought loans or additional sources of credit and 49% reduced staff or compensation. In addition, 79% said they temporarily closed storefronts or offices once, while 21% said their closed their workspaces again after reopening.

The dimmer view of the state and national economy is tied to concerns over the pandemic, fears of a recession and political uncertainty. 

The full report from KeyBank can be read HERE.

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.