The exclusive Chicago Executive Pulse survey, conducted in partnership with Crain’s, shows Chicago-area execs are starting to see light at the end of the tunnel.
Local executive expectations remain positive with 44 percent reporting Chicago’s economy will be in good or very good condition in six months, and 48 percent saying the same of the broader U.S. economy. This positive expectation has manifested in our business leaders focusing on economic issues at home while they remaining in a holding pattern as the final acts of 2020 play themselves out.
For the moment that sense of stasis is balanced against an incipient but measurable confidence about what is set to occur in the nation’s capital. Biden ran a deliberately centrist campaign and often talked about being president of the entire country rather than just catering to his political supporters, positions which appeal to pragmatic centrism of local business leaders.
The majority of Chicago executives expect that the Biden administration will positively affect job growth (57 percent as opposed to only 22 percent who think it will have a negative effect) and reopening the economy (55 percent as opposed to 31 percent who disagree). This is not surprising—Moody’s Analytics assessed in September that a Biden victory would be good for economic growth. Biden’s decision to nominate the well-respected Janet Yellen, a former chair of the Federal Reserve, as Treasury secretary only reinforces the conviction. Strong pluralities of Chicago-area business leaders are also optimistic about the new administration’s effect on public market performance (48 percent positive versus 27 percent negative), trade relations (48-24), intellectual property protection (49-20) and healthcare (46-23). In fact, of eight economic areas Harris asked about, these leaders only narrowly disputed the corporate tax system (39-38). No shock there either: Biden promised to raise the corporate tax rate.