Q3 2020 Vistage CEO Confidence Index: Confidence Rebounds

Signs of life in the economy and an increase of business activity has led to an increase in confidence of small and midsize business CEOs. The Vistage CEO Confidence Index rebounded to 82.8 Q3 2020; while not at peak recovery, this is just 2.6% below Q3 2019. While all factors that comprise the Index improved from last quarter, the biggest driver of the rebound is decreasing pessimism about the future U.S. economy. September’s survey found that 83% of CEOs expect the economy to worsen in the year ahead, a 10-point improvement from 93% last quarter. The other factors that contributed to the rebound from last quarter include: 32.5% improvements in revenue expectations29.2% improvement in profitability expectations28.3% increase in investment plans, largely driven by a significant decline in contraction25.4% improvement in workforce plans10.1% improvement in expectations for the U.S. economy To Learn More, Click On These Downloads: Q3 2020 CEO Confidence Index reportQ3 2020 CEO Confidence Index flash reportQ3 2020 CEO Confidence Index infographic About the Vistage...
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Q2 2020 Vistage survey: CEO confidence plummets in pandemic-induced recession

While the full impact of the economic shutdown occurred in April and May, the latest Vistage CEO Confidence Index data still reveals the devastating effects of the pandemic on small and midsize businesses (SMBs). The Vistage CEO Confidence Index plummeted to 65.5 in Q2 2020; there have only been two other times in the history of the survey that the Index was recorded so low. While every factor that comprises the Index dropped from last quarter, not surprisingly, overwhelmingly the biggest decline was CEO sentiment about current economic conditions in the U.S: 93% of CEOs report that the economy recently worsened. In comparison, just 25% believe that the economy will continue to worsen in the next 12 months which is an indicator that CEOs feel the economic impact has reached the bottom. As a result of the shutdown, 80% of SMBs reported some level of revenue declines; 17% report declines of 10% or less. Revenue projections are the lowest they have been...
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Q1 2020 Vistage CEO Confidence Index

Rather than sharing the report itself this quarter, I thought it would be more useful to share Joe Galvin, Vistage Chief Research Officer, interpretation and perspective as follows. There will not be a “new normal” on the other side of the COVID-19 crisis. When business activity picks up and the world begins to spin again, people and businesses will engage in a “new reality” that will not resemble what we knew to be normal. We will individually and organizationally engage in new norms defined by fundamentally different societal changes and business dynamics that emerged in the pandemic. At some date in the not too distant future, there will be a total business reboot — CEOs will be resetting their business in terms of employees, customers and financials — to a new, post COVID-19 level. From that starting point, we will begin to rebuild and grow through the recovery into this new reality. The transition begins when the current quarantine level of essential services...
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Q4 2019 Vistage CEO Confidence Index

Optimism Recovers MidYear Losses Confidence among CEOs in the Q4 2019 survey regained the losses in the prior two quarters to end the year at the same favorable level as at the beginning of 2019. The Vistage CEO Confidence Index was 91.5 in Q4 2019, up 7.7% from the prior quarter and nearly equal to the first quarter’s 91.6. The Index is still below the 95.4 recorded in Q4 2018, and the recent peak of 110.3 at the close of 2017. The steep declines occurred from year-end 2017 to year-end 2018, and the Index reached its recent low in Q3 2019. While this rebound is small, it points toward the expectation that the expansion will continue during 2020, even if at a slower pace. The anticipation of slower economic growth has continued to temper revenue and profit expectations as well as planned expansions in fixed investments and employment. Those declines were marginal this year, and the latest data regained a good bit...
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Q3 Vistage Confidence Index – Chicago

A couple of weeks ago Vistage published its National Confidence Index Results.  Below is a report comparing the Chicago area to the nation.  Not surprisingly, Chicago business leaders are a bit more pessimistic. And yet, a recent report from ITR Economics Housing: 6 Signs of a Better Year Ahead offers a contrarian point of view.  Perhaps the message is, monitor your industry and your business, capitalize on opportunities and accumulate cash so when you want to invest you can. Here is the Chicago Area Survey Highlights: ECONOMY 12% of CEOs thought the national economy had improved in the past year (vs. 21%nationally) 4% of CEOs expect the economy to improve in the year ahead (vs. 12% nationally) PROSPECTS 56% of CEOs expect to increase revenue in the year ahead (vs. 61% nationally) 44% of CEOs expect rising profits in the year ahead (vs. 51%nationally) EXPANSION 35% of CEOs expect to increase investments in the year ahead (vs. 37% nationally) 50% of CEOs plan to expand...
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Q3 2019 Vistage Confidence Index – CEO optimism falls to 8-year low

Overall confidence among CEOs of small and midsize businesses declined for the 7th consecutive quarter. The Vistage CEO Confidence Index was 85.0 in the 3rd quarter of 2019, down 3.8% from the prior quarter and 17.5% from last year’s 3rd quarter survey. While the overall decline points toward a slower pace of growth in the economy during the year ahead, the recent falloff does not indicate that CEOs anticipate a recession. The Great Recession falloff from peak-to-trough was a more substantial 58% drop, compared with today’s drop of 23% from the Q4 2017 peak. The current decline, however, is comparable to the early decline recorded prior to the last recession. There are a number of domestic and international issues whose favorable resolution could push confidence higher in the months ahead. At present, however, uncertainty about how and when these issues will be resolved will continue to erode confidence. Tariffs have damaged firms, with 41% of CEOs reporting that tariffs have negatively...
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Q2 2019 Vistage-Chicago Confidence Index – Chicago More Pessimistic

Chicago Area Survey Highlights are below. Click here for more detail by industry and for a comparison to 2018. Economy 17%of CEOs thought the national economy had improved in the past year (vs. 31% nationally) 10% of CEOs expect the economy to improve in the year ahead (vs. 13% nationally) Prospects 53% of CEOs expect to increase revenue in the year ahead (vs. 64% nationally) 45% of CEOs expect rising profits in the year ahead (vs. 54% nationally) Expansion 31% of CEOs expect to increase investments in the year ahead (vs. 40% nationally) 40%of CEOs plan to expand their workforce in the next year (vs. 56% nationally) © 2019 Vistage Worldwide, Inc. Elisa K Spain http://elisaspain.com/leadershipcoach/ Are You a CEO or President of a Privately Held Business? If you are also a lifetime learner and want to learn more about my Vistage Group, click http://elisaspain.com/impact/ ...
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Q2 2019 Vistage Confidence Index: Optimism Tumbles

Since 2003, the Vistage CEO Confidence Index has provided a quarterly comprehensive report of the opinions and projections of more than 1,400 CEOs of small- to mid-sized companies about the economy, their hiring and investment plans, and prospects for their revenues and profitability. The Vistage CEO Confidence Index has been a proven predictor of GDP, two quarters in advance. Confidence among CEOs tumbled to the lowest level since late 2016 according to analysis of the Q2 2019 Vistage CEO Confidence Index survey. The CEO Confidence Index was 88.4 in Q2 2019, down from 91.6 in the prior quarter and last year’s 104.1. This represents the lowest CEO confidence level in the past three years since the 87.9 recorded in Q4 2009. However, one of the components measured in the Index - CEO sentiment about future economic conditions - is at the lowest in 10 years. The falloff was driven by much less favorable assessments of the national economy, which tumbled by about...
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Q1 2019 Vistage Confidence Index: Optimism Sinks Further

New data from Vistage finds that the economic confidence of CEOs from small and midsize businesses continues to fall. The Vistage National CEO Confidence Index measured 91.6, compared to 95.4 last quarter (Q4 2018) and 105.8 one year ago (Q1 2019). The decline in the index was largely driven by CEOs’ lower assessments of the recent growth in the U.S. economy; expectations for future economic growth remained at the same low level recorded last quarter. Just 29% of all CEOs reported that economic conditions had recently improved, a 15-point drop from 44% last quarter. In addition, just 14% of CEOs anticipated improvement in the economy in the next 12 months, less than half of the 35% recorded last year. Chicago CEOs were even more pessimistic. Only 18% reported improved economic conditions, and only 10% anticipate improvement in the next 12 months. Despite these steep declines, the data “indicates a return to a sluggish pace of economic growth, not a renewed recession,” said Dr. Richard Curtin,...
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CEO Optimism Sinks

Economic confidence among CEOs continued to decline according to the Q4 2018 survey. The Vistage CEO Confidence Index was 95.4 in Q4, down from 103.0 in Q3 and last year’s fifteen-year peak of 110.3. Confidence Index Highlights 44% of CEOs said the economy had recently improved, a 20 point drop from last quarter. 70% of CEOs expect increased revenues in the year ahead. (down from 75%) 43% of CEOs expect to increase investment expenditures in the next year. (down from 50%) 14% of CEOs expect the economy to post additional gains this year. (down from 25%) 61% of CEOs expect increased profits in the year ahead. (unchanged) 65% of CEOs plan to expand their workforce in the year ahead. (down from 75%) Notably, hiring intentions as well as profit expectations showed only small recent variations, although both were below levels recorded earlier this year. The largest disconnect is between the pessimistic outlook for the national economy and the modest declines in how CEOs view...
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