A Real Economy publication

2023 industry outlook

Industry-specific quarterly insights for the middle market


Developed by our industry senior analysts

The Real Economy: Industry Outlook provides a collection of sector-specific insights developed by our RSM US LLP industry senior analysts, a select group of professionals dedicated to studying economic and industry data, market trends and the emerging issues faced by middle market businesses.

Each outlook offers a data-driven approach to industry research, examining the impact of economic factors, including earnings, competitive landscape, consumer behavior, capital flows, mergers and acquisitions activity, supply chain, labor and more.

From recovery challenges and opportunities to future growth, what are the issues affecting middle market businesses?

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Business services and professional services

  • Labor costs continue to be a burden for business service companies
  • Private equity firms are still investing in the business services industry
  • Demand for law firms’ services has declined.
  • Law firms are witnessing a decrease in productivity.

Consumer products

From managing costs and adapting to consumer preferences to addressing inventory and labor challenges, consumer products businesses face a variety of issues in the coming year. Retailers, restaurants, apparel companies, food and beverage businesses, and more continue to navigate a complex economic environment.

Financial services

  • U.S. private equity deal activity is expected to remain muted into the first quarter of 2023.
  • Companies should seek out innovative technology platforms to prepare for what is to come.
  • Blockchain can help companies reduce security risks and mitigate fraud in a scalable way.

Government contracting

Technology and innovation are foundational for the U.S. federal government to serve and protect its citizens. To do this well, the government must work with contractors to develop cutting-edge solutions, educate its acquisition workforce to guide the procurement process effectively, and put safeguards in place to ensure its achievements are protected. This is a challenging but worthy pursuit that government contractors are ready to tackle in partnership with their government customer.

Health care

Facing challenges ranging from the pandemic’s lingering impact to economic uncertainty, health care organizations continue to work toward new opportunities with the help of advanced technologies and growth strategies.

Life sciences

Looking ahead, life sciences companies will encounter fundraising challenges and competition for experienced and highly skilled talent, as well as fallout from economic headwinds. However, innovation and opportunity are always on the horizon for many businesses in the medtech, life sciences services and biopharma sectors. We explore what’s happening and what’s to come.

Manufacturing and energy

As we begin a new year, there are many opportunities and challenges facing manufacturers. In our latest industry outlook, our senior analysts examine why it’s important for organizations to invest in 5G infrastructure and planning, how manufacturers can continue to navigate inflation, and women’s evolving role in the sector.

Real estate

  • Commercial offices are being reshaped with an eye toward flexible working spaces, collaboration and enhanced technology.
  • Real estate deal activity slowed considerably in 2022, and financing is now feeling the slump.
  • The construction industry continues to be hampered by limited availability of skilled labor.

Technology, media and telecom

The future holds several exciting opportunities for technology, media and entertainment, and telecommunications companies. Artificial intelligence and machine learning are becoming more prevalent in everyday life, and related companies are seeing more investment activity as a result. The media landscape is undergoing a major shift as sports broadcasting contracts come up for renewal, with more interest from large tech companies. For telecommunications companies, automation is becoming a key strategy to reduce costs and enhance performance.

The Real Economy Blog

The Real Economy Blog was developed to provide timely economic insights about the middle market economy. It is offered as a complement to RSM’s macroeconomic thought leadership, including The Real Economy monthly publication and the proprietary RSM US Middle Market Business Index (MMBI).

The voice of the middle market

Middle market organizations, which make up the “real economy,” are too big to be small and too small to be big. They have distinct challenges and opportunities around resources, labor, technology, innovation, regulation and more.