Close this search box.
Close this search box.

CEO Confidence Index March 2004


American CEOs believe the U.S. economic recovery can continue past the presidential election and into 2005, but they continue to have enough worries that they don’t foresee a surge in hiring, the CEO Confidence Index for March reveals.

When asked if the current recovery is sustainable into next year and beyond, 65 percent of chief executives said, “yes,” while just 18 percent said, “no” and 17 said they didn’t know. Some 226 readers of Chief Executive magazine responded to the monthly survey.

“It’s good news that an overwhelming majority of CEOs feel that our economy can keep growing,” said Edward M. Kopko, chief executive of the Chief Executive Group. “They also seem confident that consumers can keep spending, thanks in part to real estate gains and a recovering stock market.”

Very few CEOs, however, predict a robust recovery, and for the second month in a row their overall outlook dimmed somewhat. The CEO Confidence Index dropped 5.5 percent, to 154.4, in March. Despite its drop-off from a peak of 171.9 in January 2004, the Index remains substantially above its levels of early to mid-2003. At the peak of worries over the War in Iraq, it hit a low of 89.4 in April 2003. The Index was initially set at 100 in October 2002, when Chief Executive began its monthly barometer of the mood in the corner office.

CEOs’ outlook on hiring remains mixed.  More than 88 percent of those who responded to the March survey believe employment conditions will either improve or stay the same over the next three months, compared with just 69 percent in April 2003. At the same time, though, the overall CEO Employment Confidence Index declined 7 percent, to 147.1. From monetary policy to a shifting regulatory climate to global competition, CEOs see many risks that could derail the economic upswing. “The cautionary note, is that CEOs don’t foresee the surge of hiring that some economists and political leaders have been hoping for,” said Kopko.

The CEO Confidence Index is released on the third Tuesday of each month. For additional information regarding the confidence of public- and private-company CEOs, details about regional CEO attitudes on employment, investment and business conditions, as well as confidence differences between service and non-service industry CEOs.

Chief Executive is a controlled circulation magazine that reaches 42,000 chief executive officers and their peers. It is published 10 times a year and reaches a total readership of 143,000. Chief Executive Group facilitates “Chief Executive of the Year,” a prestigious honor bestowed upon an outstanding corporate leader, nominated and selected by a group of his or her peers. Hank Greenberg, Bill Gates, John Chambers, Michael Dell and Sandy Weill are just some of the leaders who have been honored throughout the award’s 17-year history. Chief Executive also organizes roundtable meetings and conferences to foster opportunities for top corporate officers to discuss key subjects and share their experiences within a community of peers.


  • Get the CEO Briefing

    Sign up today to get weekly access to the latest issues affecting CEOs in every industry
  • upcoming events


    Strategic Planning Workshop

    1:00 - 5:00 pm

    Over 70% of Executives Surveyed Agree: Many Strategic Planning Efforts Lack Systematic Approach Tips for Enhancing Your Strategic Planning Process

    Executives expressed frustration with their current strategic planning process. Issues include:

    1. Lack of systematic approach (70%)
    2. Laundry lists without prioritization (68%)
    3. Decisions based on personalities rather than facts and information (65%)


    Steve Rutan and Denise Harrison have put together an afternoon workshop that will provide the tools you need to address these concerns.  They have worked with hundreds of executives to develop a systematic approach that will enable your team to make better decisions during strategic planning.  Steve and Denise will walk you through exercises for prioritizing your lists and steps that will reset and reinvigorate your process.  This will be a hands-on workshop that will enable you to think about your business as you use the tools that are being presented.  If you are ready for a Strategic Planning tune-up, select this workshop in your registration form.  The additional fee of $695 will be added to your total.

    To sign up, select this option in your registration form. Additional fee of $695 will be added to your total.

    New York, NY: ​​​Chief Executive's Corporate Citizenship Awards 2017

    Women in Leadership Seminar and Peer Discussion

    2:00 - 5:00 pm

    Female leaders face the same issues all leaders do, but they often face additional challenges too. In this peer session, we will facilitate a discussion of best practices and how to overcome common barriers to help women leaders be more effective within and outside their organizations. 

    Limited space available.

    To sign up, select this option in your registration form. Additional fee of $495 will be added to your total.

    Golf Outing

    10:30 - 5:00 pm
    General’s Retreat at Hermitage Golf Course
    Sponsored by UBS

    General’s Retreat, built in 1986 with architect Gary Roger Baird, has been voted the “Best Golf Course in Nashville” and is a “must play” when visiting the Nashville, Tennessee area. With the beautiful setting along the Cumberland River, golfers of all capabilities will thoroughly enjoy the golf, scenery and hospitality.

    The golf outing fee includes transportation to and from the hotel, greens/cart fees, use of practice facilities, and boxed lunch. The bus will leave the hotel at 10:30 am for a noon shotgun start and return to the hotel after the cocktail reception following the completion of the round.

    To sign up, select this option in your registration form. Additional fee of $295 will be added to your total.