After more than a decade in the doldrums, Chief Executive’s monthly survey of CEO confidence finds the economic outlook of America’s corporate leaders nearing its most optimistic since we began the monthly survey in 2003, up 5% month over month in December and 7% since the same time last year.
In another barometer of perceived economic health, our survey of 267 CEOs also found two-thirds plan to add to their workforce in 2018, betting on business conditions continuing to improve in the year ahead. Only 5% of CEOs forecast a decrease in headcount.
“I think there is a massive wave of digital disruption in front of us,” wrote another mid-market CEO who believes the retail sector will continue to be impacted by new emerging technology and digitally disruptive business models.
The president of a small tech company says it’s the regulatory landscape that is the biggest hurdle ahead, as it remains too cumbersome, preventing smaller players from focusing their efforts on strategy and gaining market share. A manufacturing president had echoed a similar feeling earlier this year, stating that the mere possibility of reducing the number and reach of regulations should be sufficient cause for increased optimism.
And large companies may indeed have more to look forward to, as reflected by CEOs’ optimism in future business conditions, which has jumped 17% since January.
The CEO Confidence Index is America’s largest monthly survey of chief executives. Each month, Chief Executive surveys CEOs across corporate America, at organizations of all types and sizes, to compile our CEO Confidence Index data.