CIT: Middle Market Execs Use Personal Experience to Judge Economy

According to research from CIT Group, middle market executives are judging the state of the economy based on personal experience and observation more than big data economic indicators.

CIT noted that approximately three in five executives say the best way to judge the U.S. economy is through observing the economic stability of their community, friends and coworkers. Less than half (41%) say government data is a better way to judge the economy. These and more findings were revealed in the fourth annual Voice of the Middle Market study released today by CIT.

“Rather than relying only on data, our study revealed that middle market executives judge the economy based on their own experiences and from what they see impacting those close to them,” said Jim Hudak, president of CIT Corporate Finance. “Everything is local, and that’s especially true for the middle market which really represents the Main Streets of the American economy. Government statistics remain critically important, but if a store on Main Street loses its lease, that has a significant impact on how these executives view the economy.”

Although middle market executives are more optimistic about the U.S. and global economies in 2015, they are still guarded as only 35% and 22% describe them as strong, respectively. Executives have the most confidence in their local economies, with nearly half describing them as strong.

An overwhelming majority (83%) reported data security as a concern, up from 67% in 2014. With such prominent data breaches in the news over the past year, data security outpaced concerns such as the Affordable Care Act, regulations and tax increases.

“A key takeaway from the study is that a large majority of middle market executives (61%) completely agree that policies coming out of Washington are more about scoring political points than solving real problems,” said Jeff Kilrea, group head and managing director of CIT Sponsor Finance, added. “In fact, 45% of middle market executives strongly feel like Washington doesn’t understand the middle market. This data is valuable as it’s crucial that we understand how middle market executives view key issues that are impacting their businesses.”

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