CEOs skittish about the future


Chief Executive Magazine regularly keeps takes the temperature of the denizens of America’s corner offices, and what it’s found this time is enough to send everyone to the drug store, if only we knew what the proper remedy would be. One thing’s for sure though — they do not think that the White House/Congressional stimulus package is it.

All of CEM’s indices went down, and the Future Confidence Index shot well into negative territory, dropping -19.6 points to 81.3 (with par, or neutral, equaling 100). And even more dizzying drop occurred in the Employment Confidence Index, dropping -31.9 to 103. The Investment Confidence Index was relatively and surprisingly stable, compared to the other two, going down -9.4 to 104.3.

CEO’s tend to be more optimistic about there own companies than the economy as a whole, but even in the two categories most reflecting that tendency were down. The Business Condition Index dropped -4.6 to 120.8, and the Current Confidence Index was down -6.8 to a still robust 150.8.

34% felt that the tax rebates on the way from the federal government were unwise, only 44% thought it would help the economy, and even fewer — 22% — thought they would benefit their own business.

On the other hand, 80% applauded the Federal Reserve’s latest rate cuts, and 73% thought that action would help the economy. But even there, only 55% thought there own company would see much benefit.

RBR/TVBR observation: We shudder to even think what this year would look like if it did not include the Olympics and another round of hotly contested election.