Even as consumer confidence appears to be leveling off, CEO confidence appears to be picking up. The latest report out on executive sentiment is from the Conference Board, and it is showing a significant quarter-over-quarter gain into positive territory.
The Conference Board Measure of CEO Confidence pivots on a score of 50 – at that level, half of those surveyed are optimistic, and half not.
The Q4 2011 score was just under that, in the red at 49. The Q1 2012 score represents a very encouraging surge to 63.
CB’s Lynn Franco commented, “CEOs’ confidence has rebounded from rather dismal readings in the latter half of 2011. Looking ahead, chief executives are optimistic about growth prospects, with about the same percentage as last year expecting to hire new workers.”
Here are highlights of the latest survey:
* 67% of CEOs say economic conditions are improved over their state six months ago, up 17% from the last reading.
* 42% say their own industries have improved, up from only 16% in Q42011.
* Six-month outlook optimism is at 59% now, compared to 32% last survey.
* 44% say the same for their own business category, up from 25%.
* About 50% expect to be in hiring mode, and only 15% expect lay-offs, just about on par with Q1 2011.
RBR-TVBR observation: The latest readings, going back a bit, have shown consumer confidence picking up to a plateau (read not cycling into reverse) and executives getting downright optimistic. After what we’ve been though the past several years, we’ll take it. Especially if the CEO part proves accurate!