The CEO Confidence Index, our monthly gauge of CEO sentiment regarding the future of business conditions, briefly passed the 6.0 mark in February (the first time since May 2011) before falling back to 5.98 in March.
The Index dropped 0.8% from last month on economic and political concerns. February’s Index was calculated before President Obama released his budget for the 2013 fiscal year, a plan that relies heavily on taxing and will certainly affect CEOs.
One surveyed CEO points out, “Tough economic times ahead will continue to challenge businesses. Only those organizations that respond with innovative ways to be more efficient and provide differentiators in their offerings will emerge successful.”
CEOs have been increasingly willing to invest in their businesses in 2012; the number of CEOs who expect to increase capital expenditures over the next year has grown from just under 42% in December of 2011 to just over 52% in March 2012.
One CEO echoed this sentiment saying, “Despite challenging first quarter revenues we project to increase new channels of diversified services to existing markets/customers so that objectives regarding capital expenditures and people development are aligned with corporate goals.”
The 2012 Presidential election has been a recurring point of interest for our CEOs, as many CEOs see a Republican president as the way to bettering the American business climate.
One CEO had a bit of a different take on the November elections, “There appears to be so much uncertainty in our market—it is like an elevator—”up and down.” Until the political season is over, I think we are all sitting on the sidelines. Even if we get a new president, I have no real confidence we can “fix” things overnight – we have allowed our country to get under water which is why the government is so dysfunctional. If any of us ran our companies like the government, we would all be in jail. Politicians can promise and deliver “our money” but, with no skin in the game it doesn’t matter, thus the mess we are in now. Government is way too big and inefficient. Not to mention the complexity and over-regulations that plague our free market.”
CEO Confidence Index — March 2012
|February 2012||March 2012||Monthly Change|
|CEO Confidence Index||6.03||5.98||-0.8%|
What do you expect overall business conditions to be like one year from now on a 1 -10 scale? (10 = Excellent)
What is your assessment of current overall business conditions on a 1-10 scale? (10 = Excellent)
Over the next 12 months, what changes do you forecast for your firm compared to the past 12 months?