Business Execs Still Bullish on the US

Despite a raging Pandemic, social unrest in the streets, a historic collapse in the economy and record unemployment, business execs are still bullish on the US. Perhaps it’s the prospect of Presidential elections in November or an expectation of further government stimulus, but by and large American business leaders are still optimistic about the economy.

Despite the widespread business and health challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, two-thirds of American business leaders are optimistic the U.S. economy will make a full recovery within the next year, according to a new survey from professional services firm TMF Group.

Nearly three-quarters (74.7%) of survey respondents have some level of confidence in the economy, bolstered by hopes of another massive government stimulus package to support businesses and workers. 

“It’s an encouraging sign that business leaders in the U.S. are expressing this type of optimism, particularly based on the unprecedented challenges experienced throughout the economy over the last few months,” said Larry Harding, TMF Group’s head of North America. “This group was obviously very confident before the onset of the pandemic, and they now seem eager to not only restart their businesses but help reignite the economy as well.” 

Looking beyond the U.S., business executives were a little less optimistic but still positive: 56% said the global economy would recover within a year. Correspondingly, business decision makers are confident their businesses will rebound quickly. More than half say their companies will return to normal operations within six months. Their financial recovery will be slower: 42% say they will bounce back financially in six months.

The health of international supply chains was found to be a major concern. Respondents said they are considering reducing risk in locations such as China, Italy and the United Kingdom, countries that also have dealt with significant outbreaks of the virus.

“COVID-19 has impacted supply chains globally, and multinational companies that have borne the brunt of this impact have had to optimize their flexibility. Yet they are still expressing optimism that each market can synchronize their operational recoveries in a safe, efficient manner,” Harding added.

Despite uncertainty, about a third of respondents said they are planning to accelerate domestic or international business expansion, as they are looking for opportunities to fuel growth coming out of the pandemic. The top countries for international business expansion are Canada, the United Kingdom, and Mexico, a sign of confidence following the passage of the USMCA trade agreement in January.

“The survey illustrates that business leaders are rapidly reacting to challenges, reassessing what they do and reconfiguring their companies to adapt to the disruption,” said Mark Weil, chief executive officer of TMF Group. “Given the level of geographic risk, even after supply chains globally return to full operation, many of those who conduct multinational operations will look to diversify supply chains as part of their domestic and international expansion plans.” 

Other major findings from the survey include:

  • Three-in-five respondents (61%) say the impact of stimulus efforts from the federal government have had a very positive or somewhat positive effect on their businesses.
  • 60% of respondents say they will introduce a revised home working policy as a result of COVID-19, with 48% of respondents introducing more stringent health and safety policies.
  • Nearly a quarter (23%) of respondents expect a V-shaped economic recovery, meaning a short, sharp collapse followed by a dramatic bounce to pre-virus activity by the end of 2020.