Thomas J. Donohue Thomas J. Donohue
Advisor and Former Chief Executive Officer, U.S. Chamber of Commerce


March 27, 2017


Midsize businesses are a critical component of our economy, providing nearly 40 million jobs and 40% of America’s GDP. They are yesterday’s small businesses and tomorrow’s Fortune 500 success stories. To get a better sense of what Washington can do to help them grow, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce partnered with RSM—a leading tax and accounting company—to produce the quarterly Middle Market Business Index.

According to the first quarter study released last week, leaders of America’s midsize companies reported record-high levels of optimism. They like much of what they’ve heard from our government leaders, especially regarding tax reform, fixing our health care system, and reducing federal regulations. They see these as enormous opportunities to jolt our economy and grow their businesses. Yet that optimism comes with a caveat: They’re waiting to make investments until Washington proves that it can actually deliver on its promises.

Leaders of middle market companies also see risks and pitfalls ahead on the policy landscape. For example, 27% of respondents identified the renegotiation of existing trade agreements as one of the greatest policy risks their companies face. Misguided changes to agreements, including added restrictions on trade or new costs on imports or exports, could cause significant disruptions to these businesses and their workers.

Another problem identified is the ongoing lack of qualified workers available to fill many open positions. America has millions of people without jobs and millions of jobs without people. Our country can solve both problems by realigning our job training and education systems to ensure that they fit with the needs of American businesses.

It’s clear from the Index that the 200,000 companies that make up America’s midsize business community are counting on Washington to pursue pro-growth policies. The Chamber is here to help. We’ve assembled a growth agenda for 2017 consisting of seven policy priorities— provide regulatory relief and reform, harness U.S. energy, modernize our infrastructure, overhaul our tax code, expand American trade, foster a competitive workforce, and reform America’s legal system—and we’re actively pursuing them with the administration and Congress.

These policies will help every company and every worker, family, and community in America by promoting dynamic economic growth. As the Index shows, thousands of midsize businesses are optimistic that these goals can be achieved—but they are waiting for Washington to deliver the goods. Learn more about the Middle Market Business Index at

About the authors

Thomas J. Donohue

Thomas J. Donohue

Thomas J. Donohue is advisor and former chief executive officer of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

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