Melanie C. Nolen
Aug. 8, 2022
Chief Executive’s latest polling, released this morning, finds America’s business chiefs increasingly optimistic about where the economy is headed, with a growing proportion expecting conditions to rally by the end of the year.
Chief Executive’s August CEO Confidence Index, a survey of 157 CEOs fielded August 2-4, soared 14% over last month’s reading, to 5.8 out of 10, where 10 is “Excellent.” After four months of continuous decline, optimism clawed back two months of losses, as CEOs report seeing early indicators that by this time next year, the country will be in a recovery.
Polled CEOs say demand remains strong and pipelines active, supply chain strains have continued to ease, and overall costs are moderating. Digging into the numbers:
- Better, not worse. 30% of CEOs now expect conditions to improve over the next 12 months, up from only 14% in July. That’s a 114% increase month-over-month, and a significant narrowing of the gap between them.
- Profits up. 53% of CEOs polled in August forecast increasing profits over the next 12 months (up 6% since July)
- Revs up. 63% expect revenues to rise (up 10% month-over-month)—the first increase recorded since January.
- Hiring flat. At 46%, the proportion of those who plan to increase hiring over that same period has remained flat.
- Capex flat. From 40% in July to 38 percent in August, the proportion planning to increase capital expenditures dipped slightly.
“I am feeling more optimistic this month than in prior months that we may avoid a recession—or if we have it (or are in it), it will be brief,” said the CEO of a small PE-backed technology firm we talked to. “The economy was ‘too hot’ which is why we couldn’t hire people, couldn’t get goods from point A to point B, and it was causing craziness. By cooling it down, we will actually get back to a semi-normal labor market, which will bring wages back in line and a semi-normal supply chain. These will be welcome changes.”