U.S. Companies Growing Increasingly Upbeat About World Economy

American business confidence in the world economy has surged, adding to an uptick in overall optimism as U.S. tax cuts and looser regulation improve the outlook for domestic growth, according to a new study.

Some 69 percent of leaders from mid-size companies across the U.S. said they were optimistic about the global economy this year, more than double the 30 percent in 2017, according to the JPMorgan Chase & Co. survey released Wednesday. The latest results marked the highest share of confidence in the eight-year history of the report, which indicated small businesses are similarly upbeat.

The survey also showed 89 percent were confident in the U.S. economy’s prospects this year, up from 80 percent in 2017 and 39 percent in 2016. Some 70 percent said the reduction in tax rates would benefit their companies “somewhat” or “to a great extent.” The survey showed that of those expecting to benefit, they will use the savings to pay down debt, invest in their businesses and increase worker pay.

Some 76 percent of leaders from mid-size firms, up from 71 percent, said they plan to raise compensation and 64 percent indicated they will take on more full-time help. Companies say they’re more concerned about a shortage of skilled workers as baby boomers retire. That will keep the skills gap wide as businesses compete for more experienced employees.

The 2018 Business Leaders Outlook survey was conducted online among mid-size firms from Jan. 2 to Jan. 19, and included 1,685 executives and 955 small-business leaders across various industries in the U.S. Mid-size companies are defined as those with revenue of $20 million to $500 million, while small firms have $100,000 to $20 million.

To contact the reporter on this story: Vince Golle in Washington at [email protected]

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Scott Lanman at [email protected], Randall Woods.