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Survey: Business optimism remains strong

Despite stock market ups and downs, business executives retain positive economic outlook, though rising health care costs and profit margin pressures are concerns.

The business community remains “overwhelmingly optimistic” about the business climate in 2018, according to the eighth annual McDonald Hopkins Business Outlook Survey.

For the second straight year, nearly 80% of the respondents to the McDonald Hopkins poll predict business conditions will improve “in both the U.S. and their own companies.” As one respondent said in the survey, “deregulation and tax policies are the best thing to happen to our economy in 29 years,” the firm noted.

However, despite the enthusiasm, there are challenges and concerns in the business community.

Although 60% of those polled expect to increase their number of employees, there are worries about finding qualified employees, with respondents citing concerns about “finding the right talent and skill sets.”

On top of that, only 45% believe the Tax Cuts and Job Act passed last December will benefit their organization.

From a list of 12 business challenges, the three greatest challenges identified by the McDonald Hopkins poll include:

  • Increasing health care costs (38%).
  • Stiff competition (38%)
  • Retaining profit margins 34%.

Not surprisingly, respondents are less concerned about federal, state and local regulations this year as only 26% ranked it as a “great challenge” compared to 41% in 2017. 

While sexual harassment has been a significant subject in the news, 55% of respondents have no plans to change their policies and training.

And despite the proliferation of data privacy and cybersecurity threats, just 27% say their organization is very prepared for such an attack, the firm reported.

TAGS: News
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