Financing and Capital Markets

Peer Insights: Evaluating the Economic Landscape

SunTrust's annual Business Pulse Survey helps put the economic landscape into perspective, allowing the executives of middle-market businesses to better navigate the current climate and solidify their plan going forward.


Executives looking to set future goals and prepare for obstacles can benefit from understanding year-over-year trends articulated by their peers, from global economic health to employee financial wellness.

Year-over-year economic evaluation and outlook (U.S. and local)

somewhat or extremely strong

somewhat to much better

Industry Economic Strength

Local/Community Economic Strength

Global Economic Strength

U.S. Economic Strength

Expectation of Global Economy
(next 6 months)

Expectation of U.S. Economy
(next 6 months)

Key Takeaway:

Sentiment has been up and down, but business executives are currently less confident in the global and local economies and less optimistic about what the next six months have in store than in 2018. Uncertainty in the 2017 numbers, for example, may have been due to a new administration, which made some executives more cautious. It’s important to periodically review your financial plan to help ensure your company is prepared for any economic environment.

Year-over-year business outlook

somewhat or extremely strong

somewhat or significantly improve

Current Business Strength

Expectation of Business Conditions
(next 6 months)

Key Takeaway:

The number of business executives who feel confident about the strength of their company has stayed in a tight range from year to year. Expectations for the future, while traditionally less certain than current strength, are at their lowest levels since the survey began.

Employee rating of current financial confidence

Current Financial Well-Being
(extremely or somewhat strong)

Key Takeaway:

The number of employees who rate their financial well-being as either extremely or somewhat strong increased from 2018, though it's still not as high as in 2016. It’s important to note that during this time, the number of those who specifically feel their financial well-being is extremely strong has continued to rise. This is crucial as companies continue to implement financial wellness programs and increase wages to enhance the lives of their employees and also incentivize a talented workforce in retention efforts.

SunTrust's annual Business Pulse Survey helps put the economic landscape into perspective, allowing the executives of middle-market businesses to better navigate the current climate and solidify their plan going forward.

Executives looking to set future goals and prepare for obstacles can benefit from understanding year-over-year trends articulated by their peers, from global economic health to employee financial wellness.

Chart: Year-over-year economic evaluation and outlook (U.S. and local)

In 2016, 67% rated Global Economic Strength somewhat or extremely strong. 70% rated U.S. Economic Strength somewhat or extremely strong. 71% rated Local/Community Economic Strength somewhat or extremely strong. 77% rated Industry Economy Strength somewhat or extremely strong.

In 2017, 48% rated Global Economic Strength somewhat or extremely strong. 54% rated U.S. Economic Strength somewhat or extremely strong. 60% rated Local/Community Economic Strength somewhat or extremely strong. 68% rated Industry Economy Strength somewhat or extremely strong.

In 2018, 63% rated Global Economic Strength somewhat or extremely strong. 63% rated U.S. Economic Strength somewhat or extremely strong. 60% rated Local/Community Economic Strength somewhat or extremely strong. 71% rated Industry Economy Strength somewhat or extremely strong.

In 2019, 58% rated Global Economic Strength somewhat or extremely strong. 61% rated U.S. Economic Strength somewhat or extremely strong. 65% rated Local/Community Economic Strength somewhat or extremely strong. 71% rated Industry Economy Strength somewhat or extremely strong.

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In 2016, 66% expected the Global Economy to be somewhat to much better in the next 6 months. 70% expected the U.S. Economy to be somewhat to much better in the next 6 months.

In 2017, 64% expected the Global Economy to be somewhat to much better in the next 6 months. 68% expected the U.S. Economy to be somewhat to much better in the next 6 months.

In 2018, 69% expected the Global Economy to be somewhat to much better in the next 6 months. 72% expected the U.S. Economy to be somewhat to much better in the next 6 months.

In 2019, 65% expected the Global Economy to be somewhat to much better in the next 6 months. 70% expected the U.S. Economy to be somewhat to much better in the next 6 months.

Key takeaway: Sentiment has been up and down, but business executives are currently less confident in the global and local economies and less optimistic about what the next six months have in store than in 2018. Uncertainty in the 2017 numbers, for example, may have been due to a new administration, which made some executives more cautious. It’s important to periodically review your financial plan to help ensure your company is prepared for any economic environment.

Chart: Year-over-year business outlook

In 2016, 80% rated their business outlook as somewhat or extremely strong. In 2017, 76% rated their business outlook as somewhat or extremely strong. In 2018, 80% rated their business outlook as somewhat or extremely strong… In 2019, 77% rated their business outlook as somewhat or extremely strong.

In 2016, 83% expected business conditions to improve somewhat or significantly in the next 6 months. In 2017, 74% expected business conditions to improve somewhat or significantly in the next 6 months. In 2018, 72% expected business conditions to improve somewhat or significantly in the next 6 months. In 2019, 70% expected business conditions to improve somewhat or significantly in the next 6 months.

Key takeaway: The number of business executives who feel confident about the strength of their company has stayed in a tight range from year to year. Expectations for the future, while traditionally less certain than current strength, are at their lowest levels since the survey began.

Chart: Employee rating of current financial confidence

In 2016, 79% of employees rated their current financial well-being as somewhat or extremely strong. In 2017, 67% of employees rated their current financial well-being as somewhat or extremely strong. In 2018, 67% of employees rated their current financial well-being as somewhat or extremely strong. In 2019, 75% of employees rated their current financial well-being as somewhat or extremely strong.

Key Takeaway: The number of employees who rate their financial well-being as either extremely or somewhat strong increased from 2018, though it's still not as high as in 2016.It’s important to note that during this time, the number of those who specifically feel their financial well-being is extremely strong has continued to rise. This is crucial as companies continue to implement financial wellness programs and increase wages to enhance the lives of their employees and also incentivize a talented workforce in retention efforts.

Take your business confidently into the future. Learn how SunTrust can help fuel business expansion and prepare for potential risks by contacting your Relationship Manager or visiting suntrust.com.

Sources:

  1. SunTrust Business Pulse Survey for 2019
  2. SunTrust Business Pulse Survey for 2018
  3. SunTrust Business Pulse Survey for 2017
  4. SunTrust Business Pulse Survey for 2016

Take your business confidently into the future

Learn how SunTrust can help fuel business expansion and prepare for potential risks by contacting your Relationship Manager or visiting suntrust.com.

This content does not constitute legal, tax, accounting, financial or investment advice. You are encouraged to consult with competent legal, tax, accounting, financial or investment professionals based on your specific circumstances. We do not make any warranties as to accuracy or completeness of this information, do not endorse any third-party companies, products, or services described here, and take no liability for your use of this information.

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