CLEVELAND, Feb. 1, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Based on the results of the McDonald Hopkins 2013 Business Outlook Survey, 54 percent of business owners and executives expect improvements in U.S. business conditions, compared to 68 percent in 2012 and 82 percent two years ago. There is just slightly greater optimism about the business conditions at their own companies. Sixty-two percent expect business conditions in their own organizations to improve, compared to 70 percent in 2012 and 75 percent in 2011.
Not surprisingly, there isn't much confidence in Congress. For example, only 20 percent of the 550 respondents are cautiously optimistic about business conditions since Congress passed legislation to avoid the fiscal cliff. As one respondent noted, "Congress has not made good decisions for quite some time now, and the teetering on the fiscal cliff was a prime example." Furthermore, 62 percent are pessimistic about whether Congress will raise the debt ceiling and make meaningful spending cuts this year. One of the business executives explains his pessimism with these comments: "Congress must cut expenses. Period. But I seriously doubt they have the guts to execute it. Failure to do so puts the country and our businesses at risk…"
"Once again a significant number of respondents took the time to write comments, many of which reflect their concern about the future," said Carl J. Grassi, president of McDonald Hopkins. "However, this year the comments were typically on a macro level related to the overall concern about solving the country's economic problems. Last year, we had many more comments about specific issues related to the respondent's business or industry."This year, 47 percent ranked health care costs among the three greatest challenges facing their companies, compared to 39 percent two years ago. The federal budget deficit and high tax rates are also growing areas of concern.