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December 2015: CEO Confidence in Future Business Finishes 2015 Down 9.4%

CEOs overall rated their confidence in business conditions 12 months from now a 6.08 on a scale of 1 to 10 (with 10 being the highest), compared with 6.71 in January, a 9.4% reduction caused by a weak economic recovery, flat manufacturing sales, increased terrorism, cybersecurity threats and more.

Mid-market CEOs, with revenue between $10 million and $1 billion, had less concern about future business conditions than their larger counterparts (companies with revenue $1B+). Larger firms had the least confidence in future business conditions, registering a 5.73 overall, while mid-market firms averaged a 6.07, a nearly 10% higher rating. Small company CEOs had the most positive outlook for the future, having rated business conditions 12 months out a 6.25 out of 10, nearly 30% higher than mid-market CEOs.

CEO Confidence Index Dec 2015 Chart 1

“The economy will not improve until it is clear that we have an administration in Washington, and specifically in the White House, which is business friendly, instead of the current president who seems to be anti-business and interested only in global warming,” one CEO said.

Governments/ Nonprofits and Energy/ Utility companies have the lowest current outlook, registering 5.00 and 5.13, respectively, while Finance and Advertising/ Marketing/ Media/ PR/ Entertainment companies have the weakest confidence in future business, with ratings of 5.20 and 5.36, respectively.

CEOs in four categories—Construction/ Engineering, Finance, Healthcare and Retail Trade—all have worse outlooks 12 months out than they do now. Of the four, Retail Trade had the lowest future expectations, dropping 14% from a rating of 7.33 today to 6.33 a year from now.

The remaining 11 categories had improved outlooks for the future. The most significant increase in expectations came from the Pharma/ Medical Devices category, with a projected 27% increase (from 5.50 today to 7.00 12 months from now). Government/ Nonprofit CEOs also expect their situation to improve, jumping 16% from 5.00 today to 5.80 next year.

CEO Confidence Index Dec 2015 Chart 2


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