Survey: Corporate CEOs dial back capital investment, increase hiring

Business Roundtable this week released its fourth quarter CEO Economic Outlook Survey, which showed that CEOs at some of the nation’s largest companies continue to moderate their plans for capital investment, while plans for hiring are up from last quarter and expectations for sales for the next six months increased modestly.

The survey is a composite index of CEO plans for capital spending, employment and expectations for sales over the next six months. The overall index ticked up two points from last quarter to 74 but remained below its historic average of 84, according to Business Roundtable. Plans for hiring increased 10 points 55. Plans for capital investment decreased seven points to 62. Expectations for sales increased two points to 105.

Fifty-two percent of CEOs identified labor costs as the top cost pressure facing their companies. Nineteen percent selected regulatory costs as their top cost pressure, a six-year high, and 14% of respondents identified material costs. Also, in their first estimate of 2024 U.S. GDP growth, CEOs projected 1.9% growth for the year.