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Washington Inaction Takes a Toll on Middle Market Confidence

Zach Brooke

Optimism dips as lawmakers struggle to legislate

“The real economy sent a message in the third quarter: We are losing confidence and may begin pulling back on plans to hire, raise compensation and increase capital expenditures due to the lack of progress on substantial policy reform.”

So begins the summary of RSM Chief Economist Joe Brusuelas on his organization’s most recent index of middle market confidence. The topline number of the RSM U.S. Middle Market Business Index (MMBI) —an assessment of 700 middle market executives’ confidence in the economy—declined by 6.4 points to 125.7 from last quarter’s all-time high of 132.1. 

RSM is the world’s sixth-largest audit, tax and consulting network, with a global fee income of $4.87 billion in 2016. The index has always been conducted in partnership with Moody’s Analytics, and earlier this year it gained another partner in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. 

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Zach Brooke is a former AMA staff writer turned freelance journalist. His work has been featured in Chicago magazine, Milwaukee Magazine, A.V. Club and VICE, among others. Follow him on Twitter @Zach_Brooke.