America's economic engine

Perspectives

America's economic engine: Tapping the brakes

A mid-market perspectives report

The executives polled on this survey’s five-year anniversary are sounding a decided note of caution—while growth in most business metrics continues, the pace is more moderate than seen in recent years.

Infographic: Highlights of survey findings

America’s economic engine: Tapping the brakes

The middle market’s ongoing efforts to navigate challenging economic conditions have generally been a story of firming confidence in the economy and business conditions, but that viewpoint changed slightly in our last survey, published in spring 2015.

Our latest survey reveals further moderation—fewer executives expect the economy to expand at a robust rate, a view which is translating into a pullback in expectations for growth in profits, prices, and capital investment.

Among the key findings:

  • In the current survey, which closed before the Federal Reserve’s rate-hike announcement in December 2015, just over half the respondents are convinced rates will be higher by this time next year.
  • More than half of executives (53 percent) cite rising health care costs as the top obstacle to US growth, and more than one-third cite it as the number two issue for company growth, behind the uncertain economic outlook.
  • Overall, the economy is still growing, albeit at a more moderate pace; the majority of executives surveyed expect the US economy to grow by at least two percent in the next year.
  • Hiring and training take the top spots when identifying a company’s biggest investment for the first time since the inaugural survey in 2011. Diversity is also key for long-term business growth, with 63 percent of respondents’ companies investing in programs that foster diversity and inclusion.

To learn more, please click on the report title at left. The full survey results are included in a separate Appendix (see below).

About this survey

From October 22 to November 4, 2015, a Deloitte survey conducted by OnResearch, a market research firm, polled 522 executives at US mid-sized companies about their expectations, experiences and plans for becoming more competitive in the current economic environment. Respondents were limited to executives at mid-market companies with annual revenues between $50 million and $1 billion.

Eighty-one percent of the companies represented were privately held; 19 percent were public. Of the private companies, 33 percent were family-owned and 31 percent were closely (non-family) held; 33 percent were private-equity or VC-backed or had other ownership structures.

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