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Businesses prepared for bleak economic outlook, study finds

Businesses resilient enough to survive the pandemic climate are prepared for recession, according to new JPMorgan Chase’s 2023 annual Business Leaders Outlook survey

COLUMBUS, Ohio — If your business survived the curveballs of the pandemic, then a possible recession should be normal business practice, right? 

JPMorgan Chase’s 2023 annual Business Leaders Outlook survey asked the heads of small and mid-size businesses what they expect to encounter in the year ahead, more than 60% expect a recession this year, and the majority forecast an uptick in business.

“Despite this view that they're expecting a recession this year, most business leaders that we spoke to expect to add headcount this year,” said Ginger Chambless, head of research at JPMorgan Chase Commercial Banking. 

“That's a very interesting, dynamic, even with an anticipated slowdown in the economy. Actually, 50% are still expecting to add workers this year, and only 12% of those surveyed indicate they would be reducing headcount. The majority expect revenues to grow as well as profits in the coming year. So these are some mitigating factors to somewhat downbeat views on the economy overall.”

The survey spoke to about 1,800 business leaders and found the biggest challenges for business is high inflation and finding workers.

The Ohio Restaurant Association saw more food hospitality workers return to the workforce, some coming out of retirement, others coming from industries that have announced mass layoffs.

“When that happens, people start looking around in their comfort zone, you could come into the restaurant industry and work part time, you can get all kinds of different shifts,” said John Barker, the president and CEO of the Ohio Restaurant Association. "If you're a server, you obviously have an opportunity to make a lot of money with tips and things like that. And people were pretty darn friendly during the pandemic with tips. And we have encouraged for that to continue because these are still people out on the frontline and taking care of you.”

Barker also said higher wages across the board are helping recruit and retain employees.

“We've seen double-digit increases in every layer within hospitality. So whether it's entry-level, all the way up to people who have general managers of restaurants and district managers,” Barker said.

The Ohio Secretary of State's office says the latest figures from November show the Buckeye state added 13,420 new businesses, which is down about 93 filings from the year before. Ohio set records for business creation in 2019, 2020, and 2021. 

The Ohio Secretary of State’s office told 10TV the complete 2022 numbers will be available in the coming weeks.

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