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M&T Bank survey: Business optimism continues


The country’s business mood remains upbeat, says M&T Bank’s quarterly Commercial Banking Economic Outlook Survey, the first published since federal tax reform was signed into law.

Results of the survey for the first quarter of this year suggest that mid-sized companies remain positive about the near-term outlook for their business and the economy, driven in part by tailwinds from federal tax reform legislation:

  • 29 percent of firms plan to increase capital expenditures as a direct result of the tax cut package, and 25 percent plan to increase worker wage rates.
  • At least 10 percent plan to hire additional workers, provide employee bonuses, or increase payouts to shareholders as a result of tax reform.
  • 70 percent of middle-market firms say the national economy has improved over the past six months, the highest reading since the recession and well above the 44 percent score one year ago.
  • On net, 35 percent of respondents plan to increase hiring, up from 26 percent a year earlier. However, an increasingly tight labor market will likely make it challenging for firms to acquire and retain top talent.

In terms of legislative priorities, respondents were most interested in seeing Congress make another attempt at health care reform, while an infrastructure bill and regulatory rollbacks were also cited as important priorities.

The full report can be found here.

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