Skip to content

CEO Optimism Index

CEO Opinion Index

Optimism hasn’t hit rock bottom however it is on the way down from earlier this year and is now listed as OK.

How CEOs feel about the economy has been downgraded from “exuberant” to just “OK.”

What’s new: The latest Business Roundtable (BRT) survey of its members — the chief executives of some of the world’s largest companies — still shows healthy expectations for sales, hiring plans and investment. But the results, shared first with Axios, do point to a gloomier outlook than just a few months ago — and a marked deterioration from last year.

Why it matters: When big-company leaders lose confidence, it can make a recession inevitable as they cut jobs and capital spending. That doesn’t appear to be happening … yet.

Instead, the study findings point to more of a slowdown in activity consistent with a “soft landing.” If we were in or near a recession, the numbers would probably be a lot worse.

State of play: Surveyed executives were dialing back near-term revenue expectations, as well as hiring and investment plans at their respective companies.

The result is a continued decline in the BRT’s CEO Economic Outlook Index, which dropped 12 points from last quarter. It’s down 40 points since its peak at the end of last year.

Still, the most recent reading remains on par with its long-run average and, notably, above the level that would signal a recession.

By the numbers: U.S. employment at their respective companies will grow, 47% of surveyed members said, while 50% said so in the prior quarter.

Sep 14, 2022 – Economy & Business New survey: CEO optimism down, not out Courtenay Brown Neil Irwin