CEO Economic Outlook Shows Modest Improvement

The Business Roundtable CEO Economic Outlook Index remains below its historical average of 79.8 but well above 50, indicating continued economic expansion.

Id 18036 Q2 Ceo Survey Graph Highres

WASHINGTON — CEO economic expectations for sales, capital expenditures and hiring have moved modestly upward, but GDP growth expectations have dipped, indicating the United States still has far to go to achieve sustained growth, according to the Business Roundtable second quarter 2016 CEO Economic Outlook Survey, released today.

The Business Roundtable CEO Economic Outlook Index — a composite of CEO projections for sales and plans for capital spending and hiring over the next six months — increased modestly from 69.4 in the first quarter of 2016 to 73.5 in the second quarter. The Index remains below its historical average of 79.8 but well above 50, indicating continued economic expansion.

Id 18036 Q2 Ceo Survey Graph Highres

CEO expectations for sales over the next six months improved by 0.8 points, while plans for capital expenditures moved up by 8.1 points, relative to last quarter. Expectations for hiring increased by 3.5 points from last quarter.

However, in their third estimate of real GDP growth for 2016, CEOs expect 2.1 percent growth, down from their 2.2 percent estimate in the first quarter of 2016.

“Increased plans for near-term sales, investment and hiring indicates modest economic improvement,” said Doug Oberhelman, Chairman & CEO of Caterpillar Inc., and Chairman of Business Roundtable. “But the CEO estimate for barely more than 2 percent GDP growth this year points to an economy that continues to perform below its potential. Unfortunately, it’s more of the same ‘one step forward, one step back’ we’ve been experiencing for a number of years now. We need sustained, healthy growth, which would be aided by enactment of pro-growth policies, such as ratifying the Trans-Pacific Partnership and updating our outdated tax system. Absent that, the U.S. economy will continue to be stuck in the slow lane.”

Survey Results

The survey’s key findings from this quarter and the first quarter of 2016 include:

                   

CEO Survey Results & Sub-Indices

    2016 Q1     2016 Q2    

Quarter-

Quarter

Change in

Sub-Index

    Increase    

No

Change

    Decrease    

Sub-

Index

    Increase    

No

Change

    Decrease    

Sub-

Index

   

How do you expect your company’s sales to change in the next six months?

    67%     22%     11%     106.7     68%     22%     10%     107.6     0.8

How do you expect your company’s U.S. capital spending to change in the next six months?

    34%     44%     23%     60.7     37%     45%     18%     68.8     8.1

How do you expect your company’s U.S. employment to change in the next six months?

    29%     33%     38%     40.8     29%     35%     35%     44.2     3.5

Second Quarter 2016 Business Roundtable CEO Economic Outlook Index

The Business Roundtable CEO Economic Outlook Index — a composite index of CEO plans for the next six months of sales, capital spending and employment — increased from 69.4 in the first quarter of 2016 to 73.5 in the second quarter of 2016. The long-term average of the Index is 79.8.

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