2Q 2014 Middle Market Indicator

The second quarter of 2014 marked the second consecutive quarter of solid revenue growth for U.S. middle market firms. In addition, firms maintained hiring increases that were reported in the first quarter of the year. Middle market leaders continue to express higher levels of confidence in the global, U.S., and local economies and surprisingly, investment patterns have remained relatively stable in each industry. Healthcare costs still remain a top challenge, with other margin pressures following closely behind.

 
 

Key Insights

Consistent with the past 12 months, a solid majority of middle market leaders continue to report improved overall company performance versus one year ago. For the second quarter of 2014, the proportion of companies reporting improved performance is up slightly to 63% from 60% last quarter, the highest level over the past year.

Companies have sustained the rate of increase in year-over-year revenue growth as reported in the last quarter, with a mean total revenue growth of 6.6% for Q2 2014.

Companies maintain hiring increases

While the proportion of middle market firms experiencing revenue growth consistently outpaces the proportion that added workers in the past year, middle market firms have maintained the significant increase in hiring reported in the first quarter of 2014. For Q2 2014, more than 40% of firms report increased employment compared to one year ago.

Economic confidence remains high

Middle market leaders from all revenue segments continue to express higher levels of confidence in the global, U.S., and local economies. This quarter, over half (55%) expressed at least some confidence in the global economy, while an impressive 68%—just over two-thirds—reported being at least somewhat confident in the U.S. economy. The percentage of respondents expressing some level of confidence in the local and regional economy is an impressive 77%.

Concerns about the regulatory environment continue to subside

Healthcare costs still top the list, with other margin pressures following closely behind. While uncertainty about government actions remains a key challenge, the significant decrease in middle market leaders who consider this issue “highly challenging” has sustained since last quarter. Just 35% of leaders listed regulatory concerns as highly challenging this quarter, versus a yearly high of 47% in Q3 2013.

  

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