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America’s businesses are beginning the year with some cautious optimism.
In 2023, the US economy avoided a recession and the job market remained robust as inflation cooled steadily throughout the year. Americans continued to spend, keeping service providers, retailers and manufacturers afloat.
The economy’s remarkable resilience last year, which baffled economists and investors, could persist. There’s now a decent chance that inflation could continue to drift toward the Federal Reserve’s 2% target without a sharp rise in unemployment — a rare feat known as a “soft landing.” The Fed will also begin to cut interest rates this year.
But, while businesses have plenty to be grateful for and much to be optimistic about, the coast isn’t clear.
Last week, surveys from the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) and The Conference Board detailed the biggest risks that businesses are currently worried about. The US Chamber of Commerce also hosted its annual State of American Business event on Thursday.
Here are some of the biggest risks for American businesses in 2024.
For starters, since there’s always a chance of a downturn on any given year, the threat of a recession still lurks.
The Conference Board released a survey of more than 1,200 executives on Wednesday and it listed a recession as their top concern. It showed that 37% of US chief executives are prepared for a recession in the year ahead.
The economy is certainly contending with some headwinds: Americans are racking up debt as they continue to draw down their pandemic savings while banks are toughening their