JPMorgan Chase Survey: Business Leaders’ Optimism, Growth Expectations Soar Past Pre-Pandemic Levels

  • Top challenges include supply chain issues, hiring and cybersecurity

NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–As much of the country reopens nearly a year and a half since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S., midsize business leaders’ optimism about their industries and companies hit record highs, according to JPMorgan Chase’s 2021 Business Leaders Outlook Pulse survey released today.

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Nearly 9 in 10 business leaders (88%) are optimistic about their company’s performance for the next six months, the highest percentage recorded in 11 years of the survey, and up from 56% one year ago at the height of the pandemic in the U.S. Survey participants are also feeling confident about the industry they’re in: 82% are optimistic about their industry’s performance, a significant jump from 45% a year ago.

This rising confidence extends to the broader economy as well. Three-quarters of respondents are optimistic about the local (76%) and national economy (75%), each representing an increase of at least 40 percentage points from a year ago. Optimism about the global economy, which has traditionally been more muted, is at its highest level (53%) since 2018, up from just 17% last summer.

The rosy outlook is driving ambitious growth plans for companies: the majority (80%) anticipate a rise in revenue/sales, and close to half (46%) expect to increase investments in capital expenditures, up from 18% one year ago. In line with these growth plans, nearly 4 in 10 businesses (38%) expect an increase in credit needs for the remainder of 2021.

“After enduring the challenges of the last year and a half, businesses are feeling overwhelmingly positive about what’s ahead,” said Jim Glassman, head economist, JPMorgan Chase Commercial Banking. “The focus now is on navigating growing pains to harness the momentum of the economic recovery, which is comparatively a good problem to have.”

Businesses’ Pandemic-Related Changes Are Here to Stay

The disruptions brought on by the pandemic forced businesses to adapt quickly and evolve their business models, with some of these changes expected to be permanent. The top strategic actions business leaders have taken include:

  • Introducing New Offerings: The majority (61%) have diversified and strengthened their offerings by delivering new product and service lines, with many planning to maintain these products and services post-pandemic.
  • Digitizing Operations: 39% of businesses expanded their e-commerce capabilities as more customers shopped online, and 38% digitized their accounts payables and receivables processes to boost efficiency.
  • Expanding Geographically: In addition to reaching customers via new digital channels, 38% of businesses expanded into new geographic markets.

“Businesses are proving yet again that when put to the test, they adapt, innovate and rise to the occasion – and in many cases, become stronger and gain market share,” said John Simmons, head of Middle Market Banking & Specialized Industries, JPMorgan Chase Commercial Banking. “We’re working with our clients to help chart a path forward and lean into new opportunities, from digitizing manual back-office processes to evaluating strategic transactions like a merger or sale.”

Supply Chain Issues Are a Top Challenge

Businesses’ supply chains were hit particularly hard by the events of the past year and a half, and ongoing supply chain issues top the list of challenges for the year ahead. Companies report having to utilize new suppliers, digitize back-office functions and manage their supply chain remotely, with many of them planning to maintain these changes in the future.

Other challenges cited by business leaders include uncertain economic conditions and sustaining revenue and sales growth. Businesses are also contending with the reality of a tight labor market as the large majority (81%) hope to hire more workers in the next six months, especially as large numbers of experienced Baby Boomers retire.

Cybersecurity is also a growing concern, as one-third of companies report being directly impacted by a cyberattack or fraud since March 2020. Among the businesses that have experienced attacks, 79% say employee education and training has been the most helpful mitigation tactic, and 56% say proactive countermeasures, including deploying new technologies, have been beneficial.

The New Workplace

With pandemic-related restrictions recently lifted or modified in many parts of the country, businesses are reevaluating their working models. Thirty-eight percent expect all employees to return to on-site work, while one in four respondents (26%) are newly implementing a flexible working model. Of the businesses that are taking a flexible approach, preserving company culture is a top concern, followed by maintaining productivity levels.

Looking Forward

Companies should factor the following considerations into their business plans to position themselves for success in the year ahead:

  1. Consider Costs: Recent rising prices, many of them resulting from supply chain bottlenecks, have stoked new fears of inflation. While the Federal Reserve and many economists see most price increases as transitory, business leaders should keep a close eye on prices and adjust their production capacity accordingly. Learn more here.
  2. Ready Yourself for Ransomware: Recent ransomware attacks have shown that companies of all sizes and industries are vulnerable. To thwart a potential ransomware attack, companies should regularly test their backups, install the latest software updates, continually evaluate resiliency plans and take other steps outlined here.
  3. Continue Company Culture: As business leaders consider new working models, preserving company culture remains top of mind. When designing a working model, companies should use their learnings from the past year to address key intangibles of corporate culture. See more here.

For more information on the 2021 Business Leaders Outlook Pulse survey, please visit

Survey Methodology

JPMorgan Chase’s Business Leaders Outlook Pulse survey was conducted online from June 7-18, 2021, for middle market companies with annual revenues between $20 million and $500 million. In total, 1,375 business leaders in various industries across the U.S. participated in the survey. For year-over-year trends, current data is compared with data collected in the second quarter of 2020. The results of this online survey are within statistical parameters for validity, and the error rate is plus or minus 2.6%, at a 95% confidence level.

About JPMorgan Chase Commercial Banking

JPMorgan Chase Commercial Banking is a business of JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM), a leading global financial services firm with assets of $3.7 trillion and operations worldwide. Through its Middle Market Banking & Specialized Industries, Corporate Client Banking & Specialized Industries and Commercial Real Estate businesses, Commercial Banking serves emerging startups to midsize businesses and large corporations as well as government entities, not-for-profit organizations, and commercial real estate investors, developers and owners. Clients are supported through every stage of growth with specialized industry expertise and tailored financial solutions including credit and financing, treasury and payment services, international banking and more. Information about JPMorgan Chase Commercial Banking is available at


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JPMorgan Chase Commits $150 Million to Chicago’s South and West Sides to Advance Racial Equity

Firm’s philanthropic investments and business commitments to provide economic opportunity for Black and Latinx communities and support an inclusive recovery in Chicago reaches $800 million

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CHICAGO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–JPMorgan Chase announced a new $150 million, five-year commitment in philanthropic capital and low-cost loans to Chicago’s South and West sides. This is part of firm’s continued effort to help advance racial equity across Chicago through new business investments, philanthropy and cross-sector partnerships. It will bring the firm’s total business and philanthropic investments toward Black and Latinx and other underserved communities in Chicago to $800 million by 2025.

By combining the firm’s unique set of business, data, policy and philanthropic resources, JPMorgan Chase aims to improve homeownership opportunities, accelerate wealth creation, help grow small businesses and expand financial health for Chicago’s South and West sides. These commitments continue to be informed by the firm’s additional home lending in Chicago, recent progress and insights from its philanthropic work in the city since 2017 and through conversations with local community, government and business leaders in Chicago. Today’s announcement is part of the firm’s $30 billion national commitment to advance racial equity.

“Business has a responsibility to help solve challenges facing the customers and communities it serves, and that includes addressing long standing racial and economic inequities that affect far too many Chicagoans,” said Jamie Dimon, Chairman and CEO, JPMorgan Chase & Co. “We must all collectively do more to close the racial wealth divide. That’s why we are furthering our commitment to create meaningful, lasting, and equitable change in Chicago, especially on the West and South sides.”

During the pandemic, 69% of Black households and 63% of Latinx households reported having financial problems, compared to 33% of White households in Chicago.1 JPMorgan Chase’s $150 million commitment to Chicago’s South and West sides intends to support an inclusive recovery from the pandemic by:

  • Jobs and Skills: Connecting 5,000 people with high-quality career pathways and engaging 100 employers in these efforts. This includes collaborating with HIRE360 to create the first 20 cohorts of its Apprenticeship Prep program to prepare 400 apprentice candidates to meet entrance requirements for apprenticeships in more than 30 construction industry trades.
  • Neighborhood Development: Preserving or creating 1,000 units of low-income housing to serve 2,500 individuals. For example, collaborating with Community Investment Corporation to capitalize the Woodlawn Construction Loan Fund to provide low cost financing to developers for the acquisition and rehab of multifamily and single-family properties in the Woodlawn community on the South side.
  • Small Business: Helping 9,000 small businesses receive services, including at least 1,000 minority business owners access capital. The firm is collaborating with the Fund of Equitable Business Growth to create a marketplace of services such as expanded business models and education for minority small business owners across Chicago.
  • Financial Health: Helping 10,000 people access high-quality products and services to improve their financial health. For example, the firm is investing in Working Credit to expand its financial coaching and credit building program into the City Colleges of Chicago’s Fresh Start Program. This program helps more than 700 Chicago students improve their credit scores and credit literacy.

“Continued investments like these allow us to unlock the full potential of each and every one of our communities,” said Chicago Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot. “This announcement not only shows just how important it is to forge public-private sector partnerships to bring about meaningful change to our communities, but it also builds upon our ongoing work to ensure that every one of our residents has a clear path to good paying, sustainable jobs and financial wellness resources. I want to thank JPMorgan Chase for its commitment to revitalizing and strengthening our South and West Sides, which will undoubtedly support our inclusive recovery from the pandemic.”

Informed by Lessons Learned

“By improving our business practices, making philanthropic investments and supporting policies that result in sustainable change, JPMorgan Chase aims to address the barriers to economic success that many Black and Latinx communities face across Chicago,” said Curtis Reed, Greater Chicagoland Region Manager, Middle Market Banking, for JPMorgan Chase Commercial Banking. “We’ll promote homeownership, grow small businesses and improve access to banking in areas of Chicago that need it most. We’re encouraged by the impact of our recent investments – evidence that our model works.”

The new investments will build on learnings, insights and progress from the firm’s initial $50 million commitment in philanthropic and flexible capital to the South and West sides, which the firm has deployed and exceeded. This includes working with other funders, civic and community leaders to create solutions at scale, aligning philanthropic and business strategies to achieve maximum impact, and using research and data to drive sustainable solutions. Since 2017, JPMorgan Chase has connected residents and small businesses with economic opportunity, helping:

  • 12,000 participants complete the workforce program
  • 17,000 small businesses receive assistance
  • 10,000 people be placed into employment or work experience
  • 91,000 individuals receive services to improve their financial health
  • 132 affordable housing units be developed or preserved

“Economic impacts of the pandemic have exacerbated inequities across Chicago, including barriers to homeownership that already disproportionately affect Black and Latinx households. JPMorgan Chase is clearly committed to supporting an inclusive recovery and closing the racial wealth gap, especially on the South and West sides,” said Raul Raymundo, CEO and Co-Founder of The Resurrection Project. “The Resurrection Project is honored to partner with JPMorgan Chase, and the city, in this critical work.”

Building on JPMorgan Chase’s Commitment to Advance Racial Equity

In October 2020, JPMorgan Chase announced a $30 billion commitment over five years to provide economic opportunity to underserved communities, especially the Black and Latinx communities, and help drive an inclusive economic recovery. The firm is putting this commitment into practice to help advance racial equity in underserved communities such as Chicago’s South and West sides by:

  • Committing an additional $600 million in home lending to increase homeownership among 3,000 Black and Latinx families across Chicago;
  • Opening a community-based Chase branch in Chicago’s South Shore neighborhood – the first of more than 300 branches in Chicagoland to feature a new community-inspired model offering free financial health resources like skills training, small business pop-ups, and fintech innovation to local residents;
  • Hiring local Community Home Lending Advisors, Minority Business Consultants and Community Managers to provide resources for local residents on the homebuying process, serve as mentors to small businesses and foster community engagement;
  • Hosting more than 100 community events and workshops, including events in partnership with community, government and faith-based organizations to educate local residents and entrepreneurs on how to build wealth, and access small business resources.

About JPMorgan Chase in Chicago

JPMorgan Chase has a 150-year history of serving customers and communities in Chicago. Today, JPMorgan Chase is one of Chicago’s largest employers with 14,000 people living and working here. The bank serves 4.5 million customers and nearly 500,000 businesses across the metro area.

About JPMorgan Chase

JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM) is a leading global financial services firm with assets of $3.7 trillion and operations worldwide. The Firm is a leader in investment banking, financial services for consumers and small businesses, commercial banking, financial transaction processing, and asset management. A component of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, JPMorgan Chase & Co. serves millions of customers in the United States and many of the world’s most prominent corporate, institutional and government clients under its J.P. Morgan and Chase brands. Information about JPMorgan Chase & Co. is available at



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