Canadian Manufacturing

U.S. economic optimism improves; China will lead in a decade: Harvard Business Review

The Harvard Business Review (HBR) annual survey of global business leaders found worldwide optimism is improving and big things are expected from China.

BOSTON—Business leaders expect China will supplant the U.S. as the global economic leader in ten years, according to this year’s Harvard Business Review (HBR).

Business executives surveyed for the HBR overwhelmingly agreed that the U.S. is the current global economic leader—60 per cent of respondents said the U.S. is number one, compared with just 31 per cent who picked China.

But when asked who will be dominant in 10 years, nearly half (46 per cent) picked China, while just 25 per cent thought the U.S. would retain that position.

That said, 56 per cent surveyed are “more optimistic” about Washington’s current ability to lead now that the election is over.

Much of that hope comes from outside of the U.S., with more than two-thirds of European business leaders stating that they are more hopeful. In the U.S., a bit less than half of the respondents (45 per cent) feel that way.

“I think there’s relief that the election is over, and genuine hope, particularly overseas, that Washington will do the right thing and reach an agreement on taxes and spending that can help propel the global economy,” says Adi Ignatius, editor in chief of the Harvard Business Review Group.

The study revealed that in one key area, innovation, the U.S. remains peerless. Half of all respondents (49 per cent) identified the U.S. as the world’s most innovative economy. China was the runner-up, named by just 9 per cent.

In the short term, there is still considerable concern about the state of the global economy. 65 per cent said further global decline is likely in the coming months. Most respondents generally expect things to be a bit better next year, though 49 per cent think global growth next year will be less than 2 per cent.

The primary danger zone is Europe, with 84 per cent citing the Eurozone as their biggest area for concern. Three-quarters of respondents said they expect growth in Europe this year to be 1.5 per cent or less.

When asked about their own companies, however, business leaders seemed more optimistic. 60 per cent said they are confident their companies will reach revenue goals this year. And many seem ready to hire: 35 per cent expect to increase staffing levels in 2013, while only 16 per cent expect their staff to decline.

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