CEOs at odds with consumers when it comes to confidence


After several months of economic confidence surveys that were routinely sunny regardless of what group was being surveyed, consumers have started to get a little antsy. But according to the Conference Board, the nation’s chief executives still see good things on the horizon.

The Q1 2011 base line indicator from the Conference Board Measure of CEO Confidence™ is 67, up from a reading of 62 during Q4 2010 and significantly higher than the scale’s par of 50. The higher result means that more CEOs are confident than not.

CB’s Lynn Franco commented, “CEOs’ confidence has improved, yet again, and expectations are that the economy will continue to expand in the coming months. As for the employment outlook, CEOs are more bullish than last year, with half now saying they intend to ramp up hiring.”

An impressive 85% of those CEOs surveyed said business conditions at the moment are better than they were six months ago, a huge increase over the 56% who said the same in the prior survey. And 66% are expecting better economic conditions during the next six months, up from 56% the last time around.

These numbers are somewhat less impressive, however, when the CEOs were asked about there own particular fields. Those saying things are good at the moment stood at 61%, beating the 55% reading from Q4 2010. And the outlook for the immediate future was only 49%, down from 51% before.

A major positive uncovered by CB was employment plans. About half of those surveyed expect to be adding employees, up from only 30%. The numbers were good on the flip side of the coin as well, with only 16% anticipating cuts, down from a prior reading of 22%.

RBR-TVBR observation: Jobs are the key, and CEO optimism on that front is a very good thing. Having a job makes a person a much more robust consumer, and robust consumers create demand, creating more jobs and even more robust consumers. It is the virtuous circle we need to establish in order to fuel a complete economic recovery.