Over Half Of US CEOs See Declining Economy This Year

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PricewaterhouseCoopers has issued its 23rd CEO survey. The data was drawn from questions placed to U.S. chief executive officers. The most notable finding is that 62% believe there will be a global growth decline within the next 12 months.

One reason the forecast does not sting as much as it might is that CEOs plan to cut costs, largely via advanced technology. Also, many believe M&A will help them expand. Neither strategy points to the organic growth the most successful U.S. companies have enjoyed over the past several years. The best evidence of this is large tech: Amazon, Google, Apple and Facebook. Together, these companies have been the drivers of the increase in American stock market value. The plans could drive profits nevertheless.

Artificial intelligence and cloud-based businesses are seen as significant contributors to efficiency. The other side of that coin is the rise in cyberattacks and the severe business disruption they can bring. The report notes:

Cyber disruptions could become a drag on growth. CEOs are consumers too, and they’re signaling lower tolerance for breaches. How to bounce back faster from operational and IT disruptions is part of the practical agenda for 2020.

While the survey findings are nothing profound, they are an indication of economic anxiety. This inevitably leads to conservative business decisions. Those, in turn, affect employees and capital spending. Together, shrinking workforces and lower investment erode gross domestic product. That hurts many businesses. It becomes a vicious cycle.



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