People deciding road to take
People deciding road to take

Read the U.S. report


After more than three years of economic turbulence, midsize business leaders appear measured in their outlooks for 2024. Our annual Business Leaders Outlook survey indicates that more than a third of leaders view prospects for the global and U.S. economies as neutral.

Attitudes about the national economy are nearly evenly split between optimism (31%), pessimism (34%) and neutrality (36%). The responses could suggest executives are positioning their organizations for a range of economic environments. Uncertainty has been a hallmark of the markets in the post-pandemic era.

Lingering challenges around inflation and hiring remain top of mind. At the end of 2023, 40% of midsize business leaders said they expect a recession in the coming year, compared to 65% at the start of 2023.   

And as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) have entered the mainstream, middle market leaders suggest they are increasingly exploring ways to adopt the powerful new technology. Nearly half (46%) of companies are using or considering AI tools, an 8-point increase since our 2023 midyear report. But only 6% identified AI/machine learning as one of their business’s primary challenges. 

Business leaders remain bullish on growth, with over half planning to introduce new products or services in the next 12 months, and more than one-third planning expansion into new geographic markets. Other leaders will grow through inorganic means; 44% and 43% say they’re planning strategic partnerships or investments and M&A, respectively. 

Innovation Economy report

About 3 in 4 leaders of U.S. startups are confident about their companies heading into 2024, according to our 2024 Innovation Economy Business Leaders Outlook survey. 

Innovation Economy business leaders’ top challenges stand out from middle market executives. Roughly half of respondents (52%) cited the availability of capital or credit as a top concern, compared to 13% for midsize businesses. And 48% cited revenue and sales growth as a key concern, compared to 39% of the broader middle market.  

Leaders’ responses suggest they’re prepared for whatever the market may bring. When asked how they would respond if market dynamics impacted their capital raising or capital stack in the next six to 12 months, 54% say they have raised enough capital to hold off for the next year.  

About the survey

Started in 2011, the annual and midyear Business Leaders Outlook survey series provides snapshots of the challenges and opportunities facing executives of midsize companies in the United States.

This year, 817 respondents completed U.S. the survey and 155 completed the Innovation Economy survey between Nov. 16 and Dec. 7, 2023. Results are within statistical parameters for validity; for U.S. the error rate is plus or minus 3.4% at the 95% confidence interval. For Innovation Economy, the error rate is plus or minus 7.9% at the 95% confidence interval.


JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. Member FDIC. Visit for disclosures and disclaimers related to this content.