Is it possible that the US has gotten past the worst of the latest economic down cycle? That’s what the Conference Board is suggesting based on its latest survey of CEO confidence for April 2008. Although the top line figure is still below the 100 par line, at 96.4 (an increase of 12.3), all five supporting indicators have improved. Reflecting the tendency of CEOs to see problems around them, but not so much at their own company, current confidence sits at 114.1; future confidence, however, remains well below par at 84.4.
Andrew Cagnetta, CEO of Transworld Business Brokers, acknowledges boost and says, the economy "has slowed down, but the worst may be behind us. Watch for a flat second quarter, with improving profits by third and fourth."
Another observer, Edward M. Kopko, CEO and Publisher of Chief Executive magazine, noted that the economy remains in a precarious position, but said when CEOs once again act with confidence, “…they will add much-needed fuel to our economic engine."
At least one CEO blames – you guessed it – the media. Bob Gutenfick, CEO of Gutenfick & Associates said, "The media hypes the economy, preaches doom and gloom and uses scare tactics to bolster ratings and appeal to the incredibly short American attention span."
RBR/TVBR observation: That last comment has got to be the single most ridiculous thing we’ve heard all year. Damn that media! The economy would be just fine if they’d just shut up about it. Why can’t they focus on the Miley Cyrus photos and give the economy a break? And where’s Paris Hilton been? And the local news is putting off the warehouse fire until the 4th or 5th slot so they can focus on how the dollar is doing against the euro and the yen. It was probably the media that killed Bear Stearns. How’d they pull it off? Who knows? It’s been successfully hidden behind that crafty cover story about the mortgage crisis and bad investments. Don’t they know Mariah Carey is getting hitched? Time to get off all this fluff about the economy and give us the news we really need.