After two months of declining confidence, the outlook among CEOs toward the economy improved in April. In particular, they expressed optimism about employment and capital spending, although they remain deeply concerned about rising health care costs and their effect on corporate bottom lines.
The overall CEO Confidence Index, a broad measure of the mood in the corner office, rose 3.9 points, from 154.4 to 158.3, a gain of 2.5 percent. The Index, initially set at 100 in October 2002, hit a peak of 171.9 in January 2004, buoyed by a rising
In April, the Employment Confidence Index jumped 9 points, or 6.1 percent, from 147.1 to 156.1. More than 95 percent of the CEOs surveyed said employment conditions either would increase or stay the same over the next three months. In recent months, this has proved to be a leading indicator of
With the current unemployment rate at 5.7%, near the 56- year
Nearly half of the 312 CEOs who responded to the survey said they expected their companies’ health care costs to increase by 11 percent to 20 percent in each of the next few years. Despite their frustrations and concerns over the