The latest Business Roundtable survey is out for the second quarter of 2013, and the CEO Economic Outlook Survey shows that chief executives now expect a slight improvement in economic output over the next six months. CEOs also expect a modest improvement in sales and hiring. In a nutshell, the CEO group is looking for an uptick in sales, but the group notes that expectations for capital spending are tempering hiring plans somewhat.
The second quarter reading rose to 84.3 from 81.0 in the first quarter, the second increase in the past five quarters. CEOs expect that gross domestic product (GDP) will rise by 2.2% ahead. That is just above the 2.1% projected in the prior survey.
When asked about sales expectations, some 78% said that sales likely would grow in the next six months. Only 7% of CEOs expect a sales decrease. There was actually a 1% decline in capital spending plans, with 37% of CEOs expecting cap-ex to rise.
Employment remains a sticky issue, even though more CEOs expect to hire. There was a 3% gain to 32% of CEOs expecting to add jobs in the next six months. Unfortunately, the 26% of CEOs expecting jobs to contract was also up by 1% from the first quarter.
The Business Roundtable CEO Economic Outlook Survey Index is actually a composite index of CEO expectations with an outlook for the coming six months. It projects expectations for sales, capital spending and employment. This second quarter survey was completed between May 13 and May 31, 2013. Responses were received from 141 member CEOs, or 67% of the total Business Roundtable membership.