The quarterly Vistage Confidence Index is now available.
A Look Back and 4 Musts for Business Leaders in 2016:
CEOs expressed somewhat greater concerns about the outlook
for the domestic economy but remained upbeat about their own
firm’s prospects in the Q4 2015 Vistage CEO Confidence Index
Survey. Overall, the data does not indicate that confidence is on
a downward slide but is simply moving sideways at high levels.
The well-worn pattern of uneven economic growth has produced
periods of growing optimism followed by the realization that the
economy will not deviate from the more modest growth rates
established since the Great Recession.
The Vistage CEO Confidence Index was 95.5 in the Q4 2015 survey,
just below last quarter’s 96.3 and well below last year’s 107.5.
Importantly, firms were slightly more optimistic about revenue and
profit growth over the past few quarters, and more than half of all
firms planned to expand their payrolls. These data indicate that
firms still anticipate continued growth in their businesses. Indeed,
the most significant challenge now faced by firms is finding, hiring,
training, and retaining staff, reported by 35% of all firms, mentioned
more than twice as frequently as any other issue facing their firms.
With a tighter labor market, these concerns will inevitably mean
higher wages and benefits to secure key personnel.
Below are some key highlights from the Q4 2015 Vistage CEO Confidence Index (all members surveyed):
36% of CEOs said the economy has improved compared to a year ago, down from 63% in last year’s 4th quarter and the worst assessment
of current economic conditions in three years.
25% of CEOs expected gains in the pace of economic growth during the year ahead, the worst outlook in four years.
55% of CEOs planned to expand their workforce in the year ahead.
71% of CEOs expected increased revenue gains in the year ahead. 58% of CEOs expect increased profits.
What Our Vistage Members Want You to Know
Note the contrast between the company prospects and the overall economy prospects. I would suggest this is the result of watching too much of the GOP candidates statements which are painting the economy as being in terrible shape. For a little perspective, look at the jobs numbers from 2014, the GDP numbers, and the inflation numbers, all of which were strong. While the low oil prices hurt one sector (oil production) and ripple through the gdp numbers, overall they are favorable and put money in the pockets of consumers. For some perspective take a look at this October article in Forbes (which I found after hearing Trump on Meet the Press talking about the economy as if the Reagan years were better than the Obama years): http://www.forbes.com/sites/adamhartung/2014/09/05/obama-outperforms-reagan-on-jobs-growth-and-investing/