NEW YORK–(COMMERCIAL THREAD) – As much of the country reopens almost a year and a half since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States, the optimism of midsize business leaders regarding their industries and their businesses have reached all-time highs, according to the 2021 CEO Outlook at JPMorgan Chase. Pulse survey released today.
Almost 9 in 10 business leaders (88%) are optimistic about their company’s performance for the next six months, the highest percentage recorded in the survey’s 11 years, and up from 56% il a year ago at the height of the pandemic in the United States Survey participants are also confident about the industry they operate in: 82% are optimistic about their industry’s performance, a significant jump from 45% a year ago.
This growing confidence also extends to the whole economy. Three-quarters of those polled are optimistic about the local (76%) and national (75%) economy, each representing an increase of at least 40 percentage points from a year ago. Optimism about the traditionally more subdued global economy is at its highest level (53%) since 2018, compared to just 17% last summer.
The optimistic outlook drives ambitious growth plans for companies: the majority (80%) anticipate an increase in turnover / sales, and almost half (46%) plan to increase investment in investments, compared with 18% a year ago. In line with these growth plans, nearly 4 in 10 companies (38%) predict an increase in credit needs for the remainder of 2021.
“After enduring the challenges of the past year and a half, businesses feel overwhelmingly positive about what to expect,” said Jim Glassman, Chief Economist, JPMorgan Chase Commercial Banking. “The focus is now on managing growing pains to harness the momentum of the economic recovery, which is a comparatively good problem to have.”
Changes related to the corporate pandemic are here to stay
The disruption caused by the pandemic has forced companies to adapt quickly and evolve their business models, with some of these changes expected to be permanent. The main strategic actions taken by business leaders include:
- Presentation of new offers: The majority (61%) have diversified and strengthened their offerings by offering new lines of products and services, and many plan to maintain these products and services after the pandemic.
- Digitization operations: 39% of businesses have expanded their e-commerce capabilities as more customers shop online, and 38% have digitized their accounts payable and accounts receivable processes to increase efficiency.
- Geographic expansion: In addition to reaching customers through new digital channels, 38% of businesses have expanded into new geographic markets.
“Companies prove once again that when put to the test, they adapt, innovate and rise to the occasion – and, in many cases, get stronger and gain market share. market, ”said John Simmons, Head of Middle Market Banking & Specialized Industries, JPMorgan Chase Commercial Banking. “We work with our clients to help them chart a course forward and seize new opportunities, from digitizing manual back-office processes to evaluating strategic transactions like a merger or sale. ”
Supply chain issues are a major challenge
Business supply chains have been hit particularly hard by the events of the past year and a half, with persistent supply chain problems high on the list of challenges for the coming year. Companies say they need to use new vendors, digitize back office functions and manage their supply chain remotely, with many planning to maintain these changes in the future.
Other challenges cited by business leaders include uncertain economic conditions and sustaining revenue and sales growth. Businesses are also grappling with the reality of a tight labor market, as the vast majority (81%) hope to hire more workers in the next six months, especially since a large number of baby boomers experienced staff will retire.
Cybersecurity is also a growing concern, as a third of businesses report having been directly affected by a cyber attack or fraud since March 2020. Among businesses that have experienced attacks, 79% say employee education and training has was the most useful mitigation tactic, and 56% say proactive countermeasures, including the deployment of new technologies, have been beneficial.
The new workplace
With pandemic-related restrictions recently lifted or changed in many parts of the country, companies are reassessing their working models. Thirty-eight percent expect all employees to return to on-site work, while one in four (26%) has recently implemented a flexible working model. Among companies that take a flexible approach, preserving corporate culture is a major concern, followed by maintaining productivity levels.
Looking forward to
Companies should take the following considerations into account in their business plans to position themselves for success in the coming year:
- Consider the costs: Recent price increases, many of which are the result of supply chain bottlenecks, have fueled further inflation fears. While the Federal Reserve and many economists view most price increases as transient, business leaders should closely monitor prices and adjust their production capacity accordingly. Learn more here.
- Prepare for ransomware: Recent ransomware attacks have shown that businesses of all sizes and in all industries are vulnerable. To thwart a potential ransomware attack, organizations should regularly test their backups, install the latest software updates, continually assess resilience plans, and take the other actions described. here.
- Continue the corporate culture: As business leaders envision new working models, preserving corporate culture remains a priority. When designing a working model, companies should use their learnings from the past year to address key intangibles of corporate culture. See more here.
For more information on the 2021 Business Leaders Outlook Pulse survey, please visit jpmorgan.com/2021 mid-year outlook.
JPMorgan Chase’s Business Leaders Outlook Pulse survey was conducted online June 7-18, 2021 for mid-market companies with annual revenue between $ 20 million and $ 500 million. A total of 1,375 business leaders from various industries in the United States participated in the survey. For year-over-year trends, current data is compared to data collected in the second quarter of 2020. The results of this online survey meet statistical parameters of validity, and the error rate is greater or less minus 2.6%, to 95%. a level of confidence.
About JPMorgan Chase Commercial Banking Services
JPMorgan Chase Commercial Banking is a business of JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM), a global leader in financial services with $ 3.7 trillion in assets and operations around the world. Through its Middle Market Banking & Specialized Industries, Corporate Client Banking & Specialized Industries and Commercial Real Estate activities, Commercial Banking serves emerging startups, mid-sized and large enterprises as well as government entities, corporate purpose organizations. non-profit and commercial real estate investors. , developers and owners. Clients are supported at every stage of their growth with specialized industry expertise and tailored financial solutions, including credit and financing, treasury and payment services, international banking services and more. Information on JPMorgan Chase Commercial Banking is available at www.jpmorganchase.com/commercial.