CEOs maintained their optimism about their firms’ business prospects in the latest survey, despite their recognition that the pace of growth in the overall economy would moderate from the 3.0% pace in the Q2. The Vistage CEO Confidence Index was 103.0 in the Q3 2017 survey, virtually equal to the Q2’s Index of 103.1 and well above last year’s 91.4.
Offsetting CEOs’ expected moderation in the pace of growth in the economy, they anticipated somewhat stronger growth in their revenues and profits. Importantly, planned investments and the expansion of employment remained at very high levels throughout the past year.
While Trump’s victory may have jump-started the rise in optimism, the data now suggest that small firms have place greater weight on ongoing changes in the economy rather than prospective changes in tax and infrastructure policies. While regulatory reform is welcome, especially given the burdens on small firms, the more important development is that firms have again emphasized economic rather than political factors in charting their future course. The major uncertainties, however, remain political rather than economic.
Trends in the Vistage CEO Confidence Index show a close correspondence with year-to-year changes in real GDP published by the U. S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. The Vistage CEO Confidence Index has about a six-month lead and currently indicates a continued expansion with an uptick in the average rate of GDP growth during 2017 and early 2018.
Download this pdf to view the results of the Northeast compared to nationally.
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