MMBI special report

2021 infrastructure report

The middle market speaks out on America’s aging infrastructure

Jul 01, 2021

After decades of watching America’s infrastructure decline, senior executives at middle market businesses are pushing to fix the nation’s basic systems, according to a recent survey of senior executives in middle market businesses conducted by RSM US LLP.

In a striking shift in outlook captured by the proprietary RSM US Middle Market Business Index survey, these executives agree that the state of the nation’s infrastructure is hampering economic growth, not only at the national and the local levels, but also within their own organizations.

If the failure of the electrical grid in Texas durning winter 2021 showed anything, it’s the deficiency of the nation’s infrastructure and what can happen when a nation fails to invest in it. Even though executives expressed confidence in the ability to bounce back from such grid failures, that resiliency cannot mask the long-term decline in the state of the nation’s infrastructure. As executives are telling RSM, there is an urgent need to shore up what makes the American economy tick. And many middle market executives aren’t waiting. That change, they told RSM, starts by looking in the mirror. 


told RSM that the nation's ailing infrastructure restricted growth of the national economy


of executives overall responded that they were likely to participate in the vendor selection process for businesses.


of U.K. middle market executives said infrastructure was restricting the growth of their business.


It’s not just a matter of improving the overall economy. The middle market believes that infrastructure improvements will benefit the day-to-day operations of their individual businesses as well. In fact, when asked about specific initiatives, and what opportunities they would represent for their organizations, every initiative elicited a significantly more positive response than was observed to a similar question in 2017.

And they didn’t stop there. Executives were similarly buoyed by the prospect of participating in the vendor selection process for those projects that present a significant opportunity for their business.

To the executives, time has run out, and they need to act. Consider these two responses:


said they would make capital investments to expand their infrastructure in the next three years.


are currently taking active steps to reduce their carbon footprint.

The strength of both responses would have been hard to imagine even four years ago, Brusuelas said.

The middle market believes that infrastructure improvements will benefit the day-to-day operations of their individual businesses.

“The public is racing out ahead of what’s actually happening in terms of policy,” Brusuelas said. “These changes are not going to stop.” 

The commercial community has cried out for years for this to be addressed. We're at a point where it can be addressed.
Joe Brusuelas, Chief Economist, RSM

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