Business Roundtable: CEO confidence in economic outlook dips in Q3

Confidence among the nation’s CEOs in the future economic outlook dipped in the third quarter amid persistently high inflation and higher interest rates, as well as geo-political uncertainties, according to the latest Business Roundtable CEO Economic Outlook Index released this week. The index—a composite measure of CEO projections for sales, capital spending and hiring over the next six months—was down 12 points from the previous quarter, falling to 84, but remained well above the expansion or contraction threshold of 50.

All three components of the index experienced similar decreases: plans for hiring fell 11 points to 78, plans for capital investment fell 11 points to 75 and expectations for sales fell 12 points to 99. Sixty-five percent of CEOs polled still said they expected sales to increase in the next six months, compared to 16% who anticipate decreases. Meanwhile, less than half (43%) said that they expect capital spending to pick up in the next six months, while 47% anticipate their company’s U.S. employment to increase.

“Global economic uncertainty continues to temper CEO sentiment for domestic plans and expectations, as reflected in this quarter’s survey results,” said Business Roundtable Chair Mary Barra, who is also CEO of General Motors. “In the face of ongoing economic and geopolitical challenges, U.S. policymakers should pursue pro-growth policies that will strengthen the economy and generate upward mobility for all Americans. We must remain steadfast in putting in place the building blocks for future economic growth.”