Findings provide insights to guide Milken Institute geo-economic programs to respond to the new era of economic disruption, from climate resilience to rebuilding supply chains.

U.S. business leaders and Americans alike are confronting significant geo-economic challenges, according to a new Milken Institute-Harris Poll report, “Building A Resilient America: The New Consensus for Action.” The findings illuminate the struggles leaders face as they navigate through economic instability, tech disruptions, and societal shifts. These challenges come with the task of marrying immediate pressures with long-term strategic ambitions with concerns about America's global position prompting 91% of business leaders to advocate for a concerted effort to bolster U.S. competitiveness in the global market.

Concurrently, the research indicates a consensus for optimism and collective effort that transcends political boundaries. It uncovers a widespread desire for optimism and unity across the U.S., cutting through political divides with Americans calling for long-term leaders and forward-thinking approaches. Additionally, business leaders across various sectors share positive outlooks, believing that their businesses are strong, and that American competitiveness can be fortified through local investment, cross-sector cooperation, and a commitment to sustainable practices.

"U.S. business leaders are optimistic about business strength, but for many Americans, the economic recovery is a reality yet to be experienced at home,” said Harris Poll CEO John Gerzema. “What everyone can agree on is the importance of building a resilient, crisis-prepared society, underscoring a collective commitment to societal progress."

The new report is part of The Milken Institute-Harris Poll Listening Project, now in its 5th year, which surveys socio-economic, institutional, and political barriers to evaluate key global and national challenges. This year’s research is focused on the U.S. and U.S. economy with the poll surveying 500 U.S. business leaders and 4,000 American adults 18+. Key findings include:

  • Business Optimism vs. Consumer Caution: A Tale of Two Perspectives on the Economy While business leaders show confidence in the future, consumer sentiment lags. Most business leaders believe the U.S. economy (81%), their respective industries (81%), and their own companies (81%) are strong. In contrast, only (40%) of Americans concur that the economy is strong. And (72%) of Americans agree that “economists may say things are getting better, but we’re not feeling it where I live.”
  • The Resilience Imperative: America's Unified Quest for Endurance Cultivating resilience across society is seen as crucial for managing disruptions and shaping the future. An overwhelming (89%) of business leaders concur that “it is important that America is able to create resilient policies and solutions to navigate disruptions.” Likewise, (86%) of Americans say, “I want a more resilient America that leads the word in its capacity to navigate and handle crises.” Nearly 8 in 10 Americans believe securing America’s global leadership position in the next four years will tangibly improve their communities (79%), their job security (78%), their life overall (78%), as well as the U.S. overall (78%).
  • Consensus for Place-Based Innovation to Restore Trust and Advance Progress There's a shared conviction amongst business leaders that place-based innovation can rebuild institutional trust (91%), create new manufacturing systems (90%), and rebuild political trust (88%). Americans echo this sentiment, agreeing that “business leaders should work more closely with government leaders to solve our social challenges” (76%). And what’s interesting is perhaps this innovation is already happening, as (71%) of Americans say, “innovation is bubbling ​ up in local communities, but national media is missing this story.”

“These findings validate what we see as an emerging, consensus for solving our biggest challenges through cross-sectoral and bottom-up solutions,” said Dan Carol, who leads Milken Institute’s climate finance practice and geo-economics programs. “Working with business leaders, governments, and frontline community leaders in this way will help us bolster US competitiveness and local economic resilience.”

The Milken Institute has been at the forefront of advancing geo-economics research, programs, and innovation workstreams to help policy, business, and civic leaders navigate the rapidly evolving global economic landscape. The newly released poll and discussions at the conference will help guide the Institute’s future geo-economic priorities, with a focus on: (1) harnessing innovation and AI to usher in a new era of equitable human development and breakthroughs in tailored education, gov-tech, and civic engagement; (2) re-wiring supply chains to identify key chokepoints and near-shoring opportunities; and (3) bolstering climate resilience to help governments, communities and the private sector re-calibrate climate strategies. This includes its 10,000 Communities Initiative which is accelerating and advancing critical community infrastructure projects by maximizing innovation and integration across regions, sectors, and sources of capital investment.

“Today’s new normal is defined by multi-trillion-dollar global disruptions — from pandemics to geo-political shocks, to artificial intelligence — that are reshaping business models and investment strategies from top to bottom,” added Karen Kornbluh, senior advisor on geo-economics for the Milken Institute. “The next generation of solutions and opportunities will be anchored by locally-led innovation and new, outcomes-based, public-private partnerships.”

Full results of the Milken Institute-Harris Poll Listening Project poll will be discussed at the Milken Institute Global Conference in Los Angeles May 5-8, 2024. Harris Poll leaders John Gerzema and Libby Rodney will participate in those discussions, alongside other experts, to further delve into how the emerging economic consensus will play out at the local, national, and international levels. They will be part of more than 150 public sessions that will be live-streamed during the conference. For more information and a full program schedule visit For updates on the event, follow Milken Institute on LinkedIn, X, Instagram, and Facebook using #MIGlobal.

About the Harris Poll

The Harris Poll is a global public opinion, analytics, and market research consultancy that strives to reveal society's authentic values to inspire leaders to create a better tomorrow. With a global research reach of more than ninety countries, Harris offers advisory services across sectors to world leaders, CEOs, and business decision-makers with state-of-the-art analytics, real-time software services, and practitioners in marketing, reputation, customer experience, trends, futures, and thought leadership/research-for-public release, The Harris Poll translates shifting social sentiment into a competitive marketplace advantage. One of the longest-running surveys in the U.S., The Harris Poll has tracked public opinion, motivations, and social sentiment since 1963, and is now a Stagwell (NASDAQ: STGW) company.

About the Milken Institute

The Milken Institute is a nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank focused on accelerating measurable progress on the path to a meaningful life. With a focus on financial, physical, mental, and environmental health, we bring together the best ideas and innovative resourcing to develop blueprints for tackling some of our most critical global issues through the lens of what’s pressing now and what’s coming next. For more information about the Milken Institute, visit or follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram.

Paul Guequierre

Jacklyn Cooney

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