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Business leaders express pessimism about near-term future of Ohio’s economy

May 6, 2020

COLUMBUS, OH –The Ohio Chamber of Commerce Research Foundation released the findings of its quarterly Prosperity Pulse business leader survey today.  The 1st Quarter findings of 2020 show:

  • The statewide Prosperity Pulse index measured at 51.0, an all-time low for the survey and the first result in survey history signaling below-average economic conditions.
  • Decreases in every metric included in the index show just how rough business leaders expect the next quarter to be. Just 8% of respondents expect their businesses to be profitable over the next three months.
  • Optimism about future economic health also fell to a survey-worst 31% of respondents.
  • For the first time in survey history, the cost of health care is supplanted as the top issue of concern, with “economic uncertainty” being the most concerning issue among business leaders.

The Prosperity Pulse index sharply fell from the 4th Quarter mark of 118 to an all-time low of 51, due mainly to the shock experienced across Ohio and the nation in responding to the coronavirus pandemic through stay-at-home orders and the temporary closure of most business activity to prevent further spread. We surveyed over 400 business leaders across Ohio and the results reflect the unfortunate reality that the business community expects a rough ride for the foreseeable future.

“While it should come as no surprise that businesses are adjusting to changes in the economic landscape due to coronavirus, the depth of the impact still comes as quite a shock,” stated Justin Barnes, Executive Director of the Ohio Chamber Research Foundation. “While these results suggest a dismal outlook, I know business leaders are eager to responsibly re-start their operations and return to ‘normal’ to the extent possible. We will be keeping close track of developments in the coming weeks to see how business leaders respond moving forward.”

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 April 7-29, 2020, and 414 responses were received.

1st Quarter Summary

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