The Conference Board has released its latest sounding on CEO confidence, and finds that in Q1 2010 it dropped, but only slightly, going from a rating of 64 in Q4 2009 to 62. But a score of 50 is the break-even point, so the score amounts to 12 points on the optimistic side.
CEO assessment of the current situation also took a slight hit. Last quarter, 75% said the situation has improved compared to 71% this time, but when discussing their own line of business, their assessment improved, with 59% saying conditions are better compared to 54% the prior quarter.
Conference Board’s Lynn Franco said, “CEOs continue to rate current economic and industry conditions favorably, but expectations are that the pace of growth will not pick up in the months ahead. Hiring plans are improved from last year, but less than a third expect employment levels to increase this year.”
30% are expecting an increase their payroll this year within their industry – while not great, that compares very favorably to the mere 3% who said the same thing last year. And flipping the coin, only 22% expect payroll reductions, compared to 86% a year ago.
RBR-TVBR observation: Most of the indicators we’ve seen seem to suggest that the economy has reached the bottom, and that it is ever-so-slowly picking itself back up. When it gets to the point that a large number of good jobs are created, that’s when we should start seeing some rapid growth.