CEOs’ Confidence in Economy Softens

The nation’s CEOs were less confident about the future economic outlook than they were in previous quarters, according to the latest Business Roundtable CEO Economic Outlook Index released today. The index—a composite measure of CEO projections for sales, plans for capital spending and hiring over the next six months, was down 9.2 points from the last quarter, landing at 95.2, but remained well above the historical average of 82.4.

All three components of the index decreased but remained above historical averages. Seventy-three percent said they expect an increase in sales over the next six months, while just under half said they had plans to increase capital spending. Forty-eight percent said they expect to increase hiring, down from 56 percent in the fourth quarter of 2018.

Participants in the survey also agreed on the need for federal action to address the issue of consumer data privacy, with eight in 10 CEOs saying that it was “somewhat” or “very” important for lawmakers to enact a national consumer privacy law. The American Bankers Association has long advocated for consistent, sector-wide data security standards, and continues to highlight the need for all industries handling sensitive financial data to be held to the same data protection standards already adhered to by regulated financial institutions.