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Inflation does not subside and concerns grow. Photo: Pixabay.

JPMorgan Chase survey reveals business fears of a recession in 2023

Leaders of small and medium-sized companies are not optimistic.

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The recently released Business Leaders Outlook 2023 annual survey found that 65% of midsize and 61% of small businesses expect a recession this year.

Ginger Chambless, head of research at JPMorgan Chase Commercial Banking, stated:

Inflation has been a challenging headwind impacting businesses of all sizes, across all industries.

Recession expectations

Among the results of the survey, carried out amid a general inflationary period, the following findings stand out:

  • Nearly all midsize businesses (91%) are experiencing inflation challenges, while 45% of small businesses see inflation as their top challenge for 2023, up from 20% a year ago.
  • 83% of midsize businesses have passed on at least a portion of increased costs to consumers and buyers, while 68% of small businesses have raised prices for some or all products and services.
  • 94% of small businesses say inflation has affected expenses, and 38% say expenses have increased by 11% or more.
  • 82% of midsize businesses will likely continue to raise prices to mitigate costs, while most small businesses expect rising labor, rental, shipping, and material costs to stay.

"While we have seen some encouraging signs that inflation has started to moderate and should cool over 2023, businesses may still want to consider adjustments to strategies, pricing or product mixes to help weather the storm in the near-term,” added Chambless.

Crossed opinions

The survey also indicates that, although there is a general consensus on the probability of a recession, small companies are more optimistic about their economic prospects than the leaders of medium-sized ones.

Midsize companies expressing optimism about the global economy fell to 8%, from 34% a year ago, while the percent optimistic about the domestic economy fell to 22% from 50% in early 2022.

For their part, close to half of small companies, which are less likely to have exposure to national and international markets, expressed optimism for the national and global economy by 49% and 45%, respectively, that is, similar figures to last year.

Expectations and concerns

These are other relevant figures from the business consultation:

  • 72% of small businesses and 66% of medium-sized businesses express optimism.
  • More than two-thirds (69%) of small businesses expect increased revenue and sales this year and 65% anticipate higher profits in 2023.
  • 63% of midsize companies expect increased revenue and sales in 2023 and 51% predict higher profits.
  • 51% of small business leaders anticipate hiring full-time employees and 50% of midsize business leaders expect to increase headcount.
  • 67% of midsize companies plan to increase wages and/or benefits and 43% plan to offer upskilling and training opportunities, while 42% of small businesses expect to increase wages.

"Following the challenges of the last few years, it’s encouraging to see the resilience of small business owners and leaders. The next economic cycle is always right around the corner, so our role is to help small business owners plan ahead so they can succeed in good times and bad,” noted Ben Walter, CEO of Chase Business Banking. 

Survey methodology

The survey was conducted online from Nov. 14 to 22, 2022 for small businesses (annual revenue between $100,000 and $20 million), and from Nov. 29 to Dec. 13, 2022 for medium-sized businesses (annual revenue between $20 and $500 million).

In total, 1,799 business executives from various sectors of the United States participated.

For more information on the Business Leaders Outlook survey, see the small and medium-sized business reports by clicking here.

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