Another survey finds returning confidence as 2011 kicks into gear


A lot of research firms keep their fingers on the wrists of various groups to guage whether or not their view of the direction of the economy is healthy or not. Often, one group’s expectations are not in line with another’s, but lately, CEOs and consumers have been in sync. PwC provides more evidence on the CEO side.

According to PwC’s 14th Annual Global CEO Survey, 56% of US CEOs are very confident about their business prospects over the next three years.

On a more immediate level, PwC says as of the end of 2010, 45% are very confident about the next 12 months. That compares to only 35% in 2007 – before the financial collapse sent the global economy into a tailspin – and is a vast improvement over the gloomiest depth represented by the 15%score in 2008. The rating approaches the 53% optimism benchmark of 2006.

According to PwC, increasing business abroad is seen as a key for US corporations, but they are also excited about the possibilities of both selling to the US market, and about the possibilities of tapping US sources for their own business needs.

“Emerging-market-headquartered companies are enhancing their global networks of suppliers and partners,” said Bob Moritz, Chairman and Senior Partner, PwC US. “There is a tremendous potential here to create new opportunities, including jobs, to revitalize the US economy. A renewed focus on quality, innovation and talent pools – where we appear to have a competitive advantage – will further establish the US as an attractive sourcing location for these companies.”

Adding talent to the workforce is a goal, and 55% of US CEOs expect to bring in more employees during 2011. 76% plan to take steps to foster a skilled workforce. They are expressing concerns, however, that the needed skills may not match up with skills available in local employment pools.

RBR-TVBR observation: Not all of the confidence surveys have produced what you’d call robust results, but every single one we’ve seen lately has registered significant improvement over both the most recent survey and the year-over-year survey period. There is much more to an economic recovery than good feelings, but good feelings can translate into confidence to spend, and that helps big time. So we like the unanimity we’re seeing.