Provident Bank survey: Businesses expect economy to improve in 2024 despite inflation

61% of businesses expect to increase hiring in 2024

Iselin-based Provident Bank released the results of its 2024 Economic Outlook Survey. The survey polled owners and executives of businesses in the U.S. with annual revenues over $1 million to explore predictions for 2024’s economic outlook.

The outlook for both the U.S. economy and respondents’ businesses is positive, with 71% expecting their businesses’ overall outlook to improve and 62% expecting the overall U.S. economy to improve in 2024.

A majority (61%) of respondents expected hiring to increase in the new year due to projected sales growth (52%); reasonable labor costs (39%); a need for skills not possessed by current staff (36%); improved economic outlook (36%); expansion into a new segment or market (33%); and inadequate staffing levels to meet demand (32%).

In addition to inflation — which was ranked by 70% of total respondents as one of the top three challenges facing the nation’s leaders — issues facing businesses included climate change (44%); crime (32%); bringing manufacturing back to the U.S. (31%); and national debt (29%).

“I’m pleased to see the positive sentiments reflected in our annual economic outlook survey,” Anthony Labozzetta, CEO and president, Provident Bank, said. “This optimism is a testament to the resiliency of our economy. As bankers, it is important that we have conversations with our customers to identify potential challenges, as well as opportunities in 2024.”

Additional survey findings include the following:

  • 72% expect to increase capital expenditures for 2024;
  • The most widely anticipated challenges facing businesses in the upcoming year included inflation (60%); rising wages (41%); supply chain-related delays and shortages (34%); revenue and sales growth (34%); attracting and retaining talent (29%); and corporate taxes (21%); and
  • 89% of respondents said their businesses had been affected by rising interest rates.

Conducted by Pollfish on behalf of Provident Bank, the survey’s findings are based on 1,000 responses.