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Positive Outlook for 2016: Business Leaders Expect U.S. Economy to Continue to Improve - BMO Harris Bank Study

- Over 80 percent of respondents expect the U.S. economy either to improve or stay the same in 2016

- More than 70 percent of respondents expect to see business growth in 2016; only two percent believe their business will shrink

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS--(Marketwired - Dec. 17, 2015) - BMO Harris Bank released a study today that found b usiness owners and executives in the United States are looking ahead to 2016 with high expectations for the U.S. economy. Positive sentiment increased considerably compared to the results of the same survey last year.

Over 80 percent of respondents expect the U.S. economy either to improve or stay the same in 2016, while only 17 percent expect the economy to get worse. In addition, 70 percent of respondents believe their businesses will grow in the coming year, with two percent forecasting a decline in business growth.

"The survey results reinforce what we are hearing from our commercial customers, who continue to invest in their businesses and drive our economy forward," said David Casper, President and Chief Executive Officer, BMO Harris Bank. "We are encouraged by these findings, and we look forward to helping our customers, and prospective customers, meet their financial needs in the coming year."

The survey asked 839 business owners and executives if they believe the U.S. economy will improve, stay at the same level or worsen in 2016.

  • 49 percent expect the economy to improve (38 percent last year)
  • 34 percent expect the economy to remain the same (41 percent last year)
  • 17 percent expect the economy to worsen (21 percent last year)

The survey also asked the same respondents if they believe their business will grow, stay at the same level, or shrink in 2016:

  • 71 percent predicted growth in 2016 for their business (56 percent last year)
  • 27 percent expect their business to remain at the same size (37 percent last year)
  • Two percent believe their business will shrink in 2016 (seven percent last year)

"Businesses are reaping the benefits of investments and productivity improvements, and buoyant consumer demand is creating opportunities," said Michael Gregory, Head of U.S. Economics, BMO Capital Markets. "However, as we look ahead to 2016, we see challenges for businesses, including a strengthening U.S. dollar and escalating labor costs. As such, economic prospects depend critically on continued business investments and productivity improvements."

The survey results cited from the 2015 Business Report conducted by Pollara were compiled from a random sample of owners or senior decision makers from 839 businesses across the US. Research was conducted between October 31 and November 9, 2015. A probability sample of this size would yield results accurate to ± 3.4 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

About BMO Harris Bank

BMO Harris Bank provides a broad range of personal banking products and solutions through more than 600 branches and approximately 1,300 ATMs in Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, Kansas, Missouri, Minnesota, Arizona and Florida. BMO Harris Bank's commercial banking team provides a combination of sector expertise, local knowledge and mid-market focus throughout the U.S. For more information about BMO Harris Bank, go to the company fact sheet. Banking products and services are subject to bank and credit approval. BMO Harris Bank N.A. Member FDIC. BMO Harris Bank is part of BMO Financial Group, a North American financial organization with approximately 1,600 branches, and CDN $642 billion in assets (as of Oct. 31, 2015).

For further information:
Media Contact:
Emily Penate
(312) 461-7956

Patrick O'Herlihy
(312) 461-6970