After dropping for nine quarters in a row, the CEO economic confidence index saw an increase in quarter three, according to a new survey.
Axios reports that trade group Business Roundtable released its survey of 150 chief executives of the biggest U.S. companies on Wednesday.
The index, while still at a decade low, indicates that CEOs don’t believe economic conditions will get any worse than they did when the coronavirus pandemic broke out earlier this year.
The survey reflects corporate America’s expectations for sales, hiring, and spending. The confidence level for all three tanked earlier this year amid the pandemic.
According to the survey, the index increased nearly 30 points to 64. The index saw its highest level in the first quarter of 2018 when it hit 118. The index has dropped every quarter since the ongoing U.S. – China trade war began.
Survey results show:
- 21% of CEOs say they expect sales will decrease within the next six months, while nearly double said the same last quarter.
- 57% of CEOs say they expect sales to increase, compared to 45% last quarter.
- 40% of CEOs say business conditions will return to pre-COVID levels next year, while 36% believe their companies will recover in 2022 or later. Almost a quarter say their business never declined, recovered already, or will recover by the end of the year.
- 34% of CEOs say they expect employment to drop at their companies within the next six months, which is less than the 46% who reported a hiring drop was likely last quarter.
- 31% of CEOs say they expect to increase hiring over the next months, compared to just 22% who predicted an increase in the last quarter.
CEOs forecast that the economy would shrink by 2.4% this year, which is an improvement over their prediction from last quarter of 3.8%.
While the outlook is positive, the Business Roundtable is still calling for addition stimulus to aid the economy.
“Further major support from the federal government is necessary to prevent economic recovery from being derailed,” Business Roundtable CEO Joshua Bolten said in a statement.
Chairman of the group Walmart CEO Doug McMillon said the Trump administration and Congress should “come back to the negotiation table and pass more legislation to further ease economic challenges” for workers and small businesses.