CEO Outlook for 2014: Sales Will Rise, Jobs Will Not

The Business Roundtable has released its 2014 CEO Economic Outlook Survey for the first quarter. While there is an overwhelming number of CEOs looking for sales growth, it is a minority of CEOs who expect much in employment growth. The results show a moderate uptick in CEO expectations for hiring, sales and capital expenditures.

The CEO survey shows that 2014 GDP growth is expected to be 2.4%. This is still considered below normal growth, compared to past economic recoveries. That expectation had been for growth of 2.2% at the prior survey.

What stood out is that 72% of CEOs surveyed said that they anticipate sales growth in the next six months, but only 37% of CEOs surveyed expect to add to their base of U.S. employees. Another downer is that less than half of the CEOs surveyed expect to increase capital spending.

The survey, which has been conducted quarterly since the third quarter of 2002, is designed to capture CEO sentiment regarding the current state and future direction of the U.S. economy. Here are three more bullet points shown in the CEO survey:

  • Some 56% would invest and hire more if Congress and the Administration were to cooperate on business tax and immigration reform and move forward on free trade agreements with European Union and Pacific nations.
  • More than 70% said that expanded U.S. trade opportunities would have a positive effect on their businesses, and 42% would hire additional employees if global trade expanded.
  • And 89% said that regulation has had either a moderately significant or very significant material impact on their investment and hiring activities.

Full details have been provided in the Business Roundtable chart below.

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