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U.S. business leaders are feeling more positive about the economy compared to six months ago. According to JPMorgan Chase’s 2023 Midyear Business Leaders Outlook survey, 45% believe there will be a recession before year-end or that the economy is already in one. This number is down from 65% at the beginning of the year.

Overall, business leaders currently feel pretty neutral about the immediate future, which is an improvement. The percentage who are pessimistic about the national economy for the year fell to 37% from 43%, while those pessimistic about the global economy dropped to 39% from 60%.

In addition, 67% are confident in their company’s performance for the year, and their expectations have remained largely unchanged, with more than half expecting hire revenue and profits. However, they did lower their hiring expectations, with just 42% planning to add headcount.

“The resilience of US consumer spending and other tailwinds has helped the economy have a stronger start to 2023 than expected, impacting business leaders’ conviction of a recession occurring this year,” Ginger Chambless, Head of Research, JPMorgan Chase Commercial Banking, said in a press release. “Still, businesses continue to face the persistent challenges of inflation, interest rates, and labor shortages, making it critical for leaders to position their companies for stability in an uncertain economic environment by maintaining strong liquidity and adequate cash balances.”

More key findings

  • 79% say their costs of doing business have gone up in the past six months, down from 91% at the beginning of the year.
  • Business leaders in the “Innovation Economy” sector (i.e., high-growth companies and venture-backed startups) feel more optimistic than leaders on average.
  • 38% of business leaders are already using or considering using AI, while 46% have no plans to use these tools in their business.