Top US CEOs are more optimistic about nation’s economy

13 March 2013 17:56  [Source: ICIS news]

WASHINGTON (ICIS)--Top executives at major US corporations are more optimistic about the nation’s economy, a key survey said on Wednesday, with sales and capital spending expected to improve over the next six months.

In its quarterly survey of more than 140 CEOs at large firms, the Business Roundtable said that “CEOs’ expectations for the economy over the next six months have improved due to expected higher sales and capital spending”.

However, the first quarter survey of industry and business leaders indicated that they do not anticipate taking on more employees in the near future.

The group’s “CEO economic outlook index” rose to 81.0 for the first quarter this year, up sharply from the 65.6 reading taken during the fourth quarter of last year.

The index is still below the more optimistic measures of 89.1 and 96.9 seen in the second and first quarters respectively in 2012.

Launched in 2002, the index is based on a scale of 0-120.  The Business Roundtable said that the new first quarter measure of 81.0 is slightly better than the survey’s long-term average level of 79.2.

The poor outlook for hiring may reflect executives’ concerns and uncertainty about the US business climate, said Business Roundtable chairman Jim McNerney.

McNerney, who is chairman and CEO of the Boeing Company, said that uncertainty over how policymakers in Washington will deal with the growing national debt and budget issues also is chilling employment plans.

Member companies of the Business Roundtable have combined annual sales of more than $6,000bn (€4,620bn) and have 14m employees.

($1 = €0.77)

Paul Hodges studies key influences shaping the chemical industry in Chemicals and the Economy

By: Joe Kamalick
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