Rocky Mountain region’s middle market experiencing faster economic recovery than national average, higher projections for revenue and employment growth in 2021
56% of region's middle market executives report appetite to invest extra cash in 2021
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Rocky Mountain Region’s Middle Market Businesses Are Experiencing Faster Recovery
DENVER — The National Center for the Middle Market (NCMM), housed at The Ohio State University Max M. Fisher College of Business, and Dietrich Partners, a Denver-based management consulting firm, collaborated and released the findings from the Rocky Mountain Region Middle Market 2020 Performance and 2021 Outlook report. The report reveals that the Rocky Mountain region’s middle market businesses are experiencing faster economic recovery and stronger business performance than the national average.
Between December 2019 to December 2020, 49% of Rocky Mountain middle market businesses experienced year-over-year revenue growth and 30% added new jobs. This compares to the national average of 46% of middle market businesses that experienced revenue growth and 22% that expanded their workforce over this same period.
The region’s middle market executives also report stronger optimism about the future, projecting 8.2% revenue growth in 2021. This growth rate is double the national average and stronger than the region’s historical projections. Further, nearly half of the region’s middle market businesses are planning to add new jobs in 2021, compared to one-third of their peers across the country that are projecting employment growth.
“The survey data coupled with more than 40 qualitative middle market executive interviews shine a light on the opportunity ahead for the Rocky Mountain Region,” said Celia Dietrich, executive chair and founder of Dietrich Partners. “The optimistic outlook we are seeing from executives is a strong indicator that many middle market businesses have quickly moved out of a defensive business survival mode and into building forward momentum with longer-term business strategy in mind. As the economic recovery continues, businesses are gaining confidence to engage in a more comprehensive strategic planning process in order to strengthen their competitive advantage for the years ahead.”
Willingness To Invest Immediately
In planning for the future, 56% of the Rocky Mountain region’s middle market executives report a willingness to invest immediately rather than holding cash. The survey finds that information technology is the top destination for investment dollars across the middle market nationally but investing in acquisitions is nearly twice as likely in the Rocky Mountain region.
“The Rocky Mountain region’s middle market businesses have historically experienced stronger performance than the segment as a whole, with higher revenue and employment growth between 2016 to 2018. Interestingly the region’s middle market businesses experienced declining performance beginning in 2019 and into 2020, yet have experienced a faster recovery and ended the year with a slightly higher revenue growth than the national average,” said NCMM Managing Director Doug Farren. “While the Rocky Mountain region is not immune to the tumultuous economic impacts of the past year and overall experienced dramatic decline in performance alongside the rest of the nation, the region’s middle market is poised well as we continue the economic recovery.”
Diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) was another element that was top-of-mind for businesses this past year and was included in the Middle Market Indicator survey for the first time. The Rocky Mountain region’s middle market shares strong views on the topic and is more likely than other areas of the country to have DEI policies in place. For example, 59% of the region’s middle market companies report having a documented process for ensuring a diverse slate of candidates are interviewed for open positions, compared to the national average of 41%.
Driving The Health Of Local Economies
The middle market is comprised of companies with annual revenues between $10 million and $1 billion and is a large market segment that drives the health of local economies and generates a disproportionate share of jobs. In the Rocky Mountain region, the middle market represents 10,200 companies located in Wyoming, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico. Collectively, the region’s middle market businesses employ 2.8 million people and generate a total of $498 billion in annual revenues.
The report is derived from NCMM’s Middle Market Indicator survey conducted among 1,000 C-suite executives of middle market companies, including 50-100 middle market companies within the Rocky Mountain region each year. Dietrich Partners collaborated with NCMM to expand the research and conducted interviews with middle market executives across industries within the Rocky Mountain region, to provide qualitative insight supporting the survey data.
About the National Center for the Middle Market (NCMM)
The National Center for the Middle Market is a collaboration between The Ohio State University Fisher College of Business and Chubb. It exists for a single purpose: to ensure that the vitality and robustness of Middle Market companies are fully realized as fundamental to our nation's economic outlook and prosperity. The Center is the leading source of knowledge, leadership, and innovative research on the middle market economy, providing critical data analysis, insights, and perspectives for companies, policymakers and other key stakeholders to help accelerate growth, increase competitiveness and create jobs in this sector.
Housed at The Ohio State University Fisher College of Business, the National Center for the Middle Market is the first center of its kind in the nation. The Center enthusiastically serves middle market firms, students, academic researchers, policy makers, the media and other key stakeholders with interests in the health and well-being of the middle market. The Center is fully committed to funding and distributing the most credible open-sourced research, dynamically creating new knowledge, providing programs that drive value for middle market companies, and offering a well-informed outlook on the health and future of the middle market via the Middle Market Indicator.
About the Middle Market Indicator
Created and managed by the NCMM, the MMI surveys 1,000 C-suite middle market company executives across all industries on key indicators of past and future performance in revenues, employment and allocation of cash, reporting on economic confidence – locally, nationally and globally; identifies key business challenge areas; and measures how these are changing over time. The quarterly survey is designed to accurately reflect the nearly 200,000 U.S. businesses with revenues between $10 million and $1 billion.
About Dietrich Partners, LLC
Dietrich Partners is a nationally recognized management consulting firm. They partner with clients to engage the right team of experts and deliver service offerings including mergers and acquisition integration, program oversight, operational assessments, and performance improvement initiatives for middle market to Fortune 500 companies. Dietrich Partners serves industries including private equity, healthcare, financial services, utilities, manufacturing and hospitality. The company joined the Inc. 5000 list of fastest-growing private companies in America in 2018 and is a certified Women’s Business Enterprise.