Positive Outlook for 2016: Business Leaders Expect U.S. Economy to Continue to Improve

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS — BMO Harris Bank released a study today that found business owners and executives in the United States are looking ahead to 2016 with high expectations for the U.S. economy. Positive sentiment increased considerably compared to the results of the same survey last year. Over 80 percent of respondents expect the U.S. economy either to improve or stay the same in 2016, while only 17 percent expect the economy to get worse. In addition, 70 percent of respondents believe their businesses will grow in the coming year, with two percent forecasting a decline in business growth. “The survey results reinforce what we are hearing from our commercial customers, who continue to invest in their businesses and drive our economy forward,” said David Casper, President and Chief Executive Officer, BMO Harris Bank. “We are encouraged by these findings, and we look forward to helping our customers, and prospective customers, meet their financial needs in the coming year.” The survey asked 839 business owners and executives if they believe the U.S. economy will improve, stay at the same level or worsen in 2016.
  • 49 percent expect the economy to improve (38 percent last year)
  • 34 percent expect the economy to remain the same (41 percent last year)
  • 17 percent expect the economy to worsen (21 percent last year)
The survey also asked the same respondents if they believe their business will grow, stay at the same level, or shrink in 2016:
  • 71 percent predicted growth in 2016 for their business (56 percent last year)
  • 27 percent expect their business to remain at the same size (37 percent last year)
  • Two percent believe their business will shrink in 2016 (seven percent last year)
“Businesses are reaping the benefits of investments and productivity improvements, and buoyant consumer demand is creating opportunities,” said Michael Gregory, Head of U.S. Economics, BMO Capital Markets. “However, as we look ahead to 2016, we see challenges for businesses, including a strengthening U.S. dollar and escalating labor costs. As such, economic prospects depend critically on continued business investments and productivity improvements.” The survey results cited from the 2015 Business Report conducted by Pollara were compiled from a random sample of owners or senior decision makers from 839 businesses across the US. Research was conducted between October 31 and November 9, 2015. A probability sample of this size would yield results accurate to ± 3.4 per cent, 19 times out of 20.