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CEO Confidence Index November 2009

CEO Confidence Index Declines Overall But Signs of Recovery Begin to Show

Chief Executive magazine’s CEO Confidence Index, the nation’s only monthly CEO Confidence Index, showed a slight decline in November. The CEO Confidence Index fell 1.6 points or 2.1% to 76.2.   

The five components of the CEO Confidence Index fluctuated, with some components showing improvement and others showing continued decline. The variation in the components may be an indicator of a positive change in CEO sentiment. Three of the five components show gains with the Future Confidence Index showing the largest gain. 

The Future Confidence Index increased 5.6 points or 6.2% in November, rising to 90.1. “I expect to see significant hiring by the 2nd half of 2010,” remarked a CEO. Another CEO was more reserved, “Confidence will take several years to return to our markets. The largest challenge is job growth.” 

The Business Conditions Index rose slightly, increasing 3.6 points (4.5%) to 80.5. This change reflects an increase in the number of CEOs rating current business conditions as “good”. One CEO stated, “We are optimistic [regarding the]future. Many opportunities exist.”   

Perhaps most importantly, the Employment Confidence Index showed a small climb to 53.5, an increase of 1.9 points or 3.6%. Nearly 42% of CEOs surveyed expect employment conditions to remain unchanged over the next quarter; an increase of 8.4%. In addition, the number of CEOs who expect employment to worsen has improved from 49.7% to 43%. With the national unemployment rate at 10.2%, the change in CEO sentiment on employment may be an early sign of the economic crisis beginning to bottom out. One CEO pointed out the importance of stability in the labor market, “There will be no recovery until consumers have enough confidence to spend money. “ 

The Investment Confidence Index fell again in November. This component fell 8.7 points (9.7%) to 89.90. The fall in the Investment Confidence Index reflects the tight credit market. 

The Current Confidence Index fell to 55.6, a loss of 21.9 % (12.2 points). Slightly more than 86% of CEOs rated the current business conditions as bad while only 5.1% rated current conditions good. 

The variation in the components of the CEO Confidence Index may be the light at the end of the tunnel. The CEOs surveyed believe the recovery will take time, but perhaps the economy has begun to turn around. As one CEO stated, “We hit the bottom with some small rays of hope.”

CEO Confidence Index, November, 2009
Respondents:  179

Index

October, 2009

November, 2009

Monthly Change(%)

CEO Index

77.8

76.2

-2.1%

Current Confidence Index

67.8

55.6

-21.9%

Future Confidence Index

84.5

90.1

6.2%

Business Condition Index

76.9

80.5

4.5%

Invest Confidence Index

98.6

89.9

-9.7%

Employment Confidence Index

51.6

53.5

3.6%

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