February 11, 2021

Federal Stimulus Package Key to Recovery, CEOs say in Marcum-Hofstra Poll

Federal Stimulus Package Key to Recovery, CEOs say in Marcum-Hofstra Poll
Tax & Business

The economy is in better shape than it was last fall, but the Biden Administration’s proposed COVID-19 stimulus package is the key to a long-term recovery, according to the latest CEO survey from Marcum LLP and Hofstra University’s Frank G. Zarb School of Business.

Download Survey Results

The survey found that almost half of mid-market CEOs – 48 percent – rated their business outlook a “5” or higher, up from 35 percent last fall. Approximately 12 percent rated their outlook an “8” or higher, a significant increase over the Fall 2020 survey, when only five percent did so.

An overwhelming majority of CEOs – about 78 percent – believe President Biden’s proposed stimulus package is necessary to drive a U.S. economic recovery in the coming year. In addition, about 60 percent of CEOs expect to require employees get a COVID-19 vaccine before returning to the workplace.

“American businesses are still struggling to survive the impact of the pandemic, with CEOs expressing a clear need for additional economic relief,” said Jeffrey M. Weiner, Marcum’s chairman & chief executive officer. “On the brighter side, however, while less than half of CEOs rated their economic outlook in the positive range of the scale, there was a definitive improvement in the upper ratings since our last poll.”

“This is an indicator of the resilience of the middle-market that hopefully will strengthen in the months to come,” he said.

While CEOs were clear that Washington should focus on COVID-19 stimulus, they were split about the Senate impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump, which began earlier this week. About 51 percent support moving ahead with the trial, while 42 percent said it should not proceed. About seven percent were not sure.

The Marcum-Hofstra CEO Survey of 267 company leaders nationwide is a periodic gauge of mid-market CEOs’ outlook and their priorities for the next 12 months. It is conducted as part of the Zarb School of Business MBA curriculum, and developed and analyzed by Hofstra MBA students led by Dr. Andrew Forman, associate professor of international business and marketing, in partnership with Marcum.

“Economic conditions are extremely fragile as the nation begins to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, and that is reflected in the guarded optimism we see among mid-market CEOs,” said Zarb School of Business Dean Janet Lenaghan. “Given the continued uncertainties we face, tools like the Marcum-Hofstra CEO Survey will prove to be an even more valuable barometer of where the economy is headed and how local, state and federal government can best drive a recovery.”

Said Dr. Forman: “Participation in the development and analysis of the CEO Survey provides Zarb students with an appreciation of the impact of rapidly changing world events on the setting of business priorities. In particular, students gain a deeper understanding of how businesses are impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and seek to adapt and recover.”

Optimism about business outlook varied widely by industry, with more than 80 percent of personal services and real estate CEOs rating their optimism at a “5” or better. On the low end, just 50 percent of construction/engineering/mining CEOs and 58 percent of technology/telecommunications/IT CEOs expressed that level of optimism.

Not surprisingly, economic concerns topped other influences for CEO planning over the next year, with technology, and availability of talent rounding out their top three most cited business influences.

Here is a sampling of what individual CEOs said about a proposed COVID-19 package:

  • “Due to reduction in revenue, the stimulus will allow us to stay operational until a vaccine is widely available.”
  • “I have been able to keep my employees working, and not have to borrow money but the stimulus would help the families that work for me.”
  • “It will allow us to continue, but at a diminished capacity.”
  • “It will allow us to keep more employees, which translates to more profits.”
  • “It would be enough to cover past and current needs, but not enough to continue into the future.”
  • “It would be very helpful, depending on how much longer the pandemic lasts. Our diminished capacity is not just our business in a bubble, but our customers and suppliers and how they’ve been affected.”
  • “We are dependent on our customers and clients receiving the infusion of cash from the federal government that they need in order to operate and continue their relationships with our firm.”

The complete survey can be found at: https://www.marcumhofstraceosurvey.com/no1-2021.

About Marcum LLP
Marcum LLP is a top-ranked national accounting and advisory services firm dedicated to helping entrepreneurial, middle-market companies and high net worth individuals achieve their goals. Marcum offers industry-focused practices with specialized expertise to privately held and publicly registered companies, and nonprofit and social sector organizations. Through the Marcum Group, the Firm also provides a full complement of technology, wealth management, executive search and staffing, and strategic marketing services. Headquartered in New York City, Marcum has offices in major business markets across the U.S. and select international locations. Marcum is committed to the advancement of diversity, equity and inclusion. The Firm is a founding member of LEA Global and is the exclusive U.S partner firm of ECOVIS International. Ever wonder where the people with all the answers get all the answers? #AskMarcum.

About the Frank G. Zarb School of Business at Hofstra University
Hofstra University’s Frank G. Zarb School of Business prepares students to become tomorrow’s global leaders. Located just 25 miles from New York City, Zarb students have access to internships and networking opportunities across every industry. The Zarb School combines entrepreneurial, hands-on learning and research with real-world experience and mentorship in state-of-the-art facilities, including a Behavioral Research in Business Lab, Center for Entrepreneurship, and academic trading room. Our undergraduate and graduate programs in accounting, management and entrepreneurship, marketing and international business, finance, and business analytics are ranked and recognized by US News & World Report. For more information, visit www.hofstra.edu/zarb.

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