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Greater Cleveland mid-market companies more optimistic about business performance

Cleveland, Ohio—Greater Cleveland middle-market companies are more optimistic about their business performance over the next 12 months than their counterparts nationwide.

A survey of 100 companies conducted today at the Greater Cleveland Partnership’s 2013 Middle-Market Forum found that 61 percent of Northeast Ohio respondents are projecting growth of 5 percent or more this year compared to 43 percent of executives surveyed nationwide by the National Center for the Middle Market (NCMM). Within the Northeast Ohio group, 33 percent are anticipating growth of at least 10 percent compared to 22 percent of the national respondents.

“Clearly, Northeast Ohio needs to recognize that the middle-market sector of our economy is a sleeping giant,” said GCP President and CEO Joe Roman. “We need to invest more in understanding how our economy can support and stimulate their growth.”

The survey also found more optimism among Northeast Ohio companies about adding jobs in 2013 with 59 percent expecting to grow their employee base compared to 38 percent of the national group. Companies here also say they are more likely to allocate additional investment in IT than those surveyed nationally—32 percent compared to 12 percent. In addition, Northeast Ohio respondents say they are less likely to use hiring freezes or layoffs to mitigate the impact of increased taxes—50 percent to 17 percent.

The nationwide survey, the 1Q 2013 Middle Market Indicator, is based on the responses of 1,000 middle-market executives from across the U.S. Its results were presented at the Greater Cleveland forum by Dr. Anil Makhija, academic director of the NCMM, a partnership between The Ohio State University Fisher College of Business and GE Capital.

“We must not take the remarkable resilience of middle market growth for granted,” said Dr. Makhija. “While the sector continues to outperform both its own expectations and national economic growth rates, the prospect of increased costs related to health care or tax increases could hold back this positive trend. It’s surprising that, given the middle market’s potential for significant growth, policy initiatives in Washington are rarely viewed through this sector’s lens.”

The forum, held at the Wyndham Cleveland at PlayhouseSquare and attended by more than 200 Northeast Ohio middle-market executives, also featured Vitamix President and CEO Jodi Berg, who shared insights into the phenomenal growth that has propelled Vitamix from a family-owned business into a company that sells its products in more than 100 countries.

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About the Greater Cleveland Partnership
The Greater Cleveland Partnership mobilizes private-sector leadership, expertise and resources to create attractive business conditions that create jobs, grow investment and improve the economic prosperity of the region. www.gcpartnership.com.