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June Confidence Data Shows Caution Among CEOs 

CEO confidence index
Chief Executive Research
Chief Executive’s most recent polling of hundreds of CEOs finds an increasing proportion changing their forecast from improving conditions to more of the same for at least another year.

It’s getting more and more difficult to find alignment within the CEO community as to which issue affecting the business environment needs to be fixed for companies to find a more stable footing.  

Lower inflation reports to trigger an interest rate cut? Decreasing prices to fuel customer demand? A favorable election outcome? The resolve of geopolitical crises? Further tightening of the labor market? 

How about all of the above?  

As Jordan Buning, CEO of ddm marketing + communications, put it in our latest CEO Confidence Index poll, conducted last week among 129 CEOs across the country: “It seems like we’re living through a series of waves based on what industries are feeling the effects (or fearing the effects).” 

That would certainly explain the wavering of our leading indicator in recent months. After starting the year on a climb (our forward-looking CEO Confidence Index rose 21 percent from October to March), CEO optimism fell in April (blame the Fed?) before clawing back some of the losses in May. (You can follow the monthly data reports here.)  

But that stalled in June, when CEOs’ forecast for business conditions 12 months out flatlined at 6.7 out of 10 for a second consecutive month.  

That’s of course better than a decline, but it is worth noting that less than half of the CEOs participating in our confidence tracking believe things will get better in the year ahead. According to our June survey, 45 percent forecast improved conditions by June 2025—a plurality, to be sure, but that proportion is nevertheless down 8 percent, from 49 percent just one month ago, when CEOs said they believed things would get better once we got past the election.  

 “In my perspective, if business success or failure depends on the election result, something is very wrong with your business strategy,” said Ariel Fabian, CEO of Moshea CPR Labs, adding insights as to why, perhaps, just getting past the election is no longer sufficient for CEOs to expect improvements. 

 When asked why fewer CEOs believe we’ll have better conditions ahead, Muffie Alejandro, CEO of reusable packaging company Jan-Al Cases, responded: “Businesses, business leaders and buyers are nervous and don’t have confidence in the economy or the government.” 

 Instead, the proportion of CEOs forecasting unchanged conditions by this time next year increased to 35 percent in June—a 21 percent increase since last month. 

 “Feels like ‘status quo’,” explained Michael Moore, CEO of MO-based Tomo Drug Testing, echoing others. 

 Our data supports this observation. A look at our leading indicator’s track record for the past decade shows one near constant: strong confidence in the first quarter, and declining optimism thereafter—to varying degrees (with the exception of 2021, when soaring Covid vaccination rates and talks of RTO fueled optimism in the second quarter).  

 And so far in 2024, we’re seeing the same pattern—though it is early to tell if the trend will hold. 

Still, even after a drop to 45 percent, optimism that things are about to get better remains the plurality vote among CEOs—and has been since October 2023, even becoming a majority—albeit by a hair—earlier this year, in March. 

 “Business continues to hold steady, and the current volumes have been good. I expect things to improve slightly in the coming year,” said Marc Holland, CEO of architectural manufacturer Inpro Corp. 

 “The economy is still challenging; inflation, high interest environment, rising cost and unemployment is still low, but at least, the chaotic stage has passed,” said Andrew Ly, CEO of Ly Brothers Corporation and cofounder and chair of Sugar Bowl Bakery. 

 In the end, Danny Gutknecht, CEO of, said it’s up to CEOs to make the best of what’s to come: “I think we will continue to experience a lot of changing dynamics in the markets. It will create plenty of opportunities but will require attention and flexibility to adjust.” 


CEOs’ optimism for their own companies’ ability to grow amid this environment shows signs of improvement, according to our June data. 

Nearly three-quarters (71 percent) of those polled said they expect an increase in their firm’s profits over the next 12 months (vs. 63 percent in May)—a record high for the year so far. Only 16 percent now anticipate declining profits—10 percent fewer than in May. 

The proportion of CEOs expecting revenue growth over the coming year also reached a high for the year in June, with 76 percent, compared to 71 percent in May.  

Capital expenditure forecasts remained relatively steady between May and June, with 44 percent of CEOs polled (vs. 45 percent in May) saying they anticipate increasing capex within the next 12 months. Our June data also shows a decrease in the number of CEOs saying they will cut capital expenditures, from 22 percent in May to 19 percent in June.

The proportion of CEOs planning to increase hiring in the next 12 months also jumped, to 48 percent in June from 40 percent in May—an increase of 19 percent. Though that is a significant move, that proportion remains below the earlier high of 56 percent reached in February. 

About the CEO Confidence Index 

The CEO Confidence Index is America’s largest monthly survey of chief executives. Each month, Chief Executive surveys CEOs across America, at organizations of all types and sizes, to compile our CEO Confidence Index data. The Index tracks confidence in current and future business environments, based on CEOs’ observations of various economic and business components. For additional information about the Index and prior months data, visit 


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