Amex Survey: U.S. Middle Market Companies Optimistic about Business Prospects



According to an American Express Survey of mid-sized companies with revenues of $10 million to $1 billion annually, U.S. companies have a rosy outlook on both their business prospects and the economy. Nearly three-quarters of financial decision makers (73%) in the U.S. middle market expect the economy to grow over the next twelve months and a similar number (75%) expect the economy will have a positive impact on their company’s business prospects.

This positive outlook is likely to have a significant impact on business plans. Nearly nine-in-ten (88%) enterprises plan to hire staff over the next twelve months, with most planning to hire full-time employees. Sixty percent say they currently have more employees than they did one year ago.

A nearly unanimous group of financial decision-makers surveyed (99%) say their companies are planning to grow their business, and of those, nearly one third (31%) say growth is their top priority over the next 12 months.

For a number of enterprises, funding for growth is already in place. More than seven-in-ten (72%) say their company has successfully secured capital to support business growth over the last twelve months.

However, even though many enterprises have already secured capital, more than nine-in-ten (91%) expect cash flow concerns to arise over the next twelve months. Their greatest concern is the ability to invest in infrastructure (24%).

As U.S. middle market companies examine their best path to growth, strategies vary. While it’s no surprise that financial decision makers believe acquiring new customers (31%) will most help their companies grow, nearly as beneficial is the ability to make investments in infrastructure, including technology and operations (27%). Other strategies that would help middle market companies grow include:

“Middle market companies have an optimistic view on the economy and their business prospects,” said Tom Tierney, senior vice president, U.S. Middle Market, American Express Global Corporate Payments. “We can already see this having an impact in terms of job numbers, with current employment numbers up and robust plans for future hiring.”

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