United States

RSM US Middle Market Business Index: Reopening the Middle Market

Midsize businesses display optimism, with responses differing by size


Even as rising coronavirus cases in the third quarter of 2020 forced local U.S. economies to pull back from reopening activities, middle market businesses in the United States remained largely optimistic they would be able to resume operations within the next year, proprietary research from RSM US LLP found.

Executives at midsize companies also appeared steadfast in their approach to pandemic-related safety, ensuring that certain conditions must first be met for employee readiness and on-site worker health protections, as well as requiring a decline in coronavirus case count, according to the third-quarter RSM US Middle Market Business Index survey, which polled executives from July 8 to July 23 on pandemic-related questions.

Enthusiasm for reopening was a predominant theme, regardless of business size. But attitudes and approaches toward remote work, the timing of reopening, the measures necessary to prepare employees and businesses for restarting their offices and facilities, and the handling of reopening costs varied significantly between the larger and smaller middle market.

“We were heartened by the positive response to reopening displayed by the majority of midsize firms in the survey cohort,” said RSM US Chief Economist Joseph Brusuelas, noting that an improvement in economic sentiment in the main MMBI index subsequent to the quarterly survey supports their ongoing optimism. “On a tactical level, however, it seems that smaller middle market firms—while typically more nimble with their operations—will likely feel more pressure on their margins in the near term, due to their inability to pass reopening costs downstream to their customers.”

Enthusiasm for reopening was a predominant theme, regardless of business size. But attitudes and approaches toward reopening varied significantly between the larger and smaller middle market.

These are unprecedented times for organizations across the entire U.S. economy. Each industry will have to work within its unique parameters to get employees back to work. But the positive approach to reopening demonstrated by middle market businesses bodes well for their continued success.

What's inside the 2020 Reopening the Middle Market special report?

The report provides insights into how important executives consider government guidance, employee readiness, COVID-19 case numbers, COVID-19 testing access and a range of other factors in their approaches to reopening. It also includes information on a number of key areas, including:

  • Workplace safety
  • Communication about reopening plans
  • Monitoring productivity
  • Reopening costs
  • Remote work
  • Employee flexibility and assistance

Read RSM’s full report to learn more.

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