RSM US Middle Market Business Index
Middle market outlook holds steady heading into year end
INSIGHT ARTICLE |
The middle market economy remained robust in the third quarter of 2018, signaling a period of sustained economic growth heading into the final three months of the year and 2019. The proprietary RSM US Middle Market Business Index was nearly unchanged at 134.4. Strong net earnings, revenue, employment and pricing reported by middle market executives polled during the period bolstered the outlook.
The data also suggest that policymakers at the Federal Reserve should proceed cautiously on interest rate hikes. While the economy and the middle market are sturdy enough to absorb rate hikes in September and December, by midyear 2019 Fed policy could become restrictive ahead of an impending decline in fiscal outlays one year from now. This may create the conditions for unwinding the economic strength that has characterized the middle market since 2014.
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RSM US LLP and The Harris Poll have collected data on middle market firms from quarterly surveys that began in the first quarter of 2015. The survey is conducted four times a year, in the first month of each quarter: January, April, July and October. The survey panel, the Middle Market Leadership Council, consists of 700 middle market executives, and is designed to accurately reflect conditions in the middle market.
The data for each quarter are weighted to ensure that they correspond to the U.S. Census Bureau data on the basis of industry representation. A reading above 100 for the MMBI indicates that the middle market is generally expanding; below 100 indicates that it is generally contracting. The distance from 100 is indicative of the strength of the expansion or contraction. Read more about how the index is constructed.