WHITEHOUSE STATION, N.J., Jan. 25, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- New data released from Chubb and the National Center for the Middle Market (NCMM), reveals a rebound in middle market economic confidence from mid-year 2022, but confidence has yet to return to the historical levels experienced in 2021. More than half of middle market companies expressed a notable optimism about the potential for 2023 revenue growth.
The 2022 Year-End Middle Market Indicator (MMI), NCMM's bi-annual flagship research report, surveyed 1,000 executives from the middle market during December of 2022. These are defined as companies with $10 million to $1 billion in annual revenue, which represent one-third of private sector GDP, employing approximately 48 million people (Source NCMM).
The survey revealed that economic confidence received a boost at year-end in the global, national and local US economies. The global economy increased nine points to 73%, the national economy increased five points to 74% and the local economy increased eight points to 86%. It should be noted that these percentages trail 2021 economic figures. Their future outlook appeared hopeful with 58% indicating they expect their gross revenues to increase and employment growth is expected to remain strong at 10%.
"The year ahead presents some considerable economic headwinds to middle market companies with persistent inflation, recession concerns and supply chain disruptions, but we are also seeing in the survey data and from our clients hope and the possibility for growth," said Ben Rockwell, Division President, Chubb Middle Market. "Working with a trusted insurance partner can provide the insurance protection to getting ahead of these macro-economic uncertainties with solid risk mitigation strategies and avoiding coverage exposure blind spots for middle market companies."
Other concerns of the middle market in the MMI found that 41% of businesses reported negative impacts from inflation over the past six months, up from 39% since the release of the 2022 Mid-Year MMI. Companies are feeling the biggest inflation impact from wages and salaries (46%), followed by the costs of raw materials/goods (44%). Moreover, the confluence of inflation, rising interest rates and recession concerns may be slowing investment appetite. Approximately two out of five companies (38%) said they have delayed capital investments due to inflation.
A Potential Recession and Rising Interest Rates Compel Tough Decisions
Amid recession concerns, 42% of middle market companies reported they would be negatively impacted by a recession. If a recession were to occur, companies said they would most likely cut expenses via budget reductions (32%) or operational efficiency (31%). They would also conserve cash (31%) and leave positions unfilled (29%). To curb the impact of rising interest rates, 29% of middle market companies plan to slow down hiring – a five percentage point increase from just six months ago – and delay the introduction of new products/services (26%).
"Despite heightened uncertainty, the US middle market's overall economic confidence level is rebounding, and companies continue to report double-digit year-over-year revenue and employment growth," said Doug Farren, Managing Director, National Center for the Middle Market housed at the Ohio State University Max M. Fisher College of Business. "Monitoring how middle market businesses continue to support growth through capital investment, innovation and expansionary activity will be critical in the upcoming year."
Risk Motivates Middle Market to Consider Insurance Coverage and Protection
As companies navigate the increasingly complex risk landscape, 91% of middle market leaders are working closely with their insurance agents and brokers to identify best practices for reducing exposure to a range of risks and adjusting coverage to account for inflation.
Rockwell added, "As business needs and exposures evolve, middle market companies should regularly review their strategies and coverages with their agents and brokers and make necessary adjustments, where they should ensure appropriate coverages and limits are in place."
Chubb's Executive Summary with detailed survey findings can be found here. Industry-specific insights among middle market manufacturing, technology, financial services, and life sciences companies, are forthcoming.
Upcoming 2023 Middle Market Agent/Broker Events
Join Doug Farren and Chubb executives on Tuesday, March 7, 2023 from 11-12 pm EST for a dynamic panel discussion around the Middle Market Indicator findings, along with our perspective on the property market, climate and risk mitigation topics. Check out the NCMM/Chubb Insights page for webcast registration here.
About the Middle Market Indicator
The MMI, which was created in 2012, surveys 1,000 executives (CEOs, CFOs and other financial decision makers) from the middle market to examine topics related to business capabilities, performance, growth drivers and economic outlook among other topics. The 2022 Year-End MMI was fielded during December 2022. It is weighted to accurately reflect the size, industry-wide and geographic distribution of this sector, which includes companies ranging from $10 million to $1 billion in annual revenue. The survey is conducted by RTi Research on behalf of the National Center for the Middle Market.
About the National Center for the Middle Market (NCMM)
The National Center for the Middle Market is a collaboration between The Ohio State University Fisher College of Business, Chubb and Visa. It exists for a single purpose: to ensure that the vitality and robustness of middle market companies are fully realized as fundamental to our nation's economic outlook and prosperity. The center is the leading source of knowledge, leadership and innovative research on the middle market economy, providing critical data analysis and insights for companies, policymakers and other key stakeholders. NCMM is fully committed to funding and distributing the most credible open-sourced research, dynamically creating new knowledge, providing programs that drive value for middle market companies and offering a well-informed outlook on the health and future of the middle market via the Middle Market Indicator.
Chubb is the world's largest publicly traded property and casualty insurance company. With operations in 54 countries, Chubb provides commercial and personal property and casualty insurance, personal accident and supplemental health insurance, reinsurance and life insurance to a diverse group of clients. As an underwriting company, we assess, assume and manage risk with insight and discipline. We service and pay our claims fairly and promptly. The company is also defined by its extensive product and service offerings, broad distribution capabilities, exceptional financial strength and local operations globally. Parent company Chubb Limited is listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: C.B.) and is a component of the S&P 500 index. Chubb maintains executive offices in Zurich, New York, Paris, London and other locations, and employs approximately 31,000 people worldwide.