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Business leaders wary of future uncertainty but expect a strong close to the year

December 5. 2019

COLUMBUS, OH –The Ohio Chamber of Commerce Research Foundation released the findings of its quarterly business leader’s survey today.  The 3rd Quarter findings of 2019 reveal the following:

  • The statewide Prosperity Pulse measured at 106.8, declining from the previous mark of 119.6.
  • Increases in hiring plans and current overall economic outlook, paired with reduced planned capital expenditures and a second straight quarter of decreases in anticipated profits resulted in a reduced Pulse index.
  • Continued uncertainty in the international trade arena, coupled with concerns relating to turbulent political activity in Washington led Ohio business leaders to be concerned with future economic strength.
  • 83% of business leaders remain optimistic about the future economic health of their company, but that figure fell to its lowest mark since the end of 2017.
  • Health care costs remain the top concern of Ohio business leaders, while workforce issues and Ohio’s political environment re-emerge as matters of concern during this quarter.

For the second survey in a row, the 3rd Quarter saw a drop in the Prosperity Pulse index. We surveyed over 400 business leaders across Ohio, with 88% representing firms under $5 million annual revenue, and the results confirm the worries we saw among businesses in the previous survey regarding future economic stability. Despite those concerns, hiring plans remain a point of strength, with 92% of businesses in sectors across the economy planning to add to their payrolls in the fourth quarter.

“What we see in the latest Prosperity Pulse index is a continuation of the concerns expressed earlier this year,” stated Justin Barnes, Executive Director of the Ohio Chamber Research Foundation. “While hiring plans remain strong, business leaders are wary of the uncertainty caused by the back-and-forth messaging out of Washington concerning trade deals, and worries that a deepening political divide put at risk opportunities for market access and agreements that could sustain economic growth.”

The Prosperity Pulse index is calculated using five forward looking factors: anticipated profits, anticipated hiring, open/available positions, anticipated capital expenditures and overall business economic outlook. The survey was conducted between 10/28/2019 and 11/19/2019, and 403 responses were received.

3rd Quarter Summary

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