KEY POINTS TO REMEMBER
- CEOs are feeling more optimistic about the economy, according to the results of a survey that measures sentiment among business leaders.
- The CEO Confidence Index rose to 53, above the level of 50 that suggests optimism about the economy, the Conference Board's latest report showed, for the first time since the first quarter of 2022.
- CEOs say the biggest challenge they face domestically this year is political uncertainty ahead of the U.S. election.
American business leaders are more positive about the U.S. economy than they have been at any time in the past two years, according to a recent survey.
The CEO confidence index rose to 53, above the level of 50 that suggests optimism about the economy, according to the latest Conference Board report. This is the first time that the index has exceeded 50 since the first quarter of 2022. It was at 46 during the last three months of 2023.
“CEOs are feeling better about the economy, but remain cautious about future risks,” said Conference Board Trustee Roger W. Ferguson, Jr.
The biggest national challenge affecting businesses this year, according to Ferguson, is political uncertainty ahead of the US election; globally, cited by 51%. The spread of existing wars was cited by 46% of respondents as the greatest risk.
The top two developments that CEOs reported as beneficial to businesses were reduced inflation, with 34% citing this, and lower interest rates from the Federal Reserve, chosen by 28% of CEOs. respondents as a favorable factor.
The survey showed that 36% of respondents expect economic conditions to improve over the next six months, up from 19% last quarter. In turn, 27% expect conditions to deteriorate, compared to 47% in the previous survey.
At the same time, more CEOs expect to lay off staff than in the fourth quarter of last year. The Conference Board survey found that 23% of respondents plan to lay off workers, up significantly from 13% last quarter.