December 2013 Duke/CFO Magazine Global Business Outlook Survey – Notable Excerpts

On December 11 the December Duke/CFO Magazine Global Business Outlook Survey (pdf) was released.  It contains a variety of statistics regarding how CFOs view business and economic conditions.

In this CFO Survey, I found the following to be the most notable excerpts:

Nearly half of U.S. companies are reluctant to hire full-time employees because of the ACA. One in five firms indicates they are likely to hire fewer employees, and another one in 10 may lay off current employees in response to the law.


In spite of concerns over the ACA and the budget deficit, many CFOs believe business
conditions will improve in 2014.

Fifty-two percent of U.S. business leaders say economic conditions for their firms will be
better in 2014 than in 2013. Fifty-two percent of European CFOs believe business conditions
will improve in 2014 for their firms, relative to somewhat weak conditions in 2013. CFOs in
the developing economies are also more optimistic about 2014, with 60 percent of CFOs in
Latin America and Asia, and 59 percent in Africa, expecting improvement.

Full-time domestic employment during 2014 should grow 1.4 percent in the U.S., down
from 1.8 percent expected growth in last quarter’s survey. Capital spending should increase
by a robust 7.3 percent, up from a projection of 4.8 percent last quarter. U.S. companies
indicate 2014 will be another strong year for profits, with earnings expected to rise by more than 10 percent.

The CFO survey contains the Optimism Index chart, showing U.S. Optimism (with regard to the economy) at 57.2, as seen below:

(click on image to enlarge)

Duke CFO 12-11-13 - Optimism_US_2013Q4

It should be interesting to see how well the CFOs predict business and economic conditions going forward.   I discussed various aspects of this, and the importance of these predictions, in the July 9, 2010 post titled “The Business Environment”.

(past posts on CEO and CFO Surveys can be found under the “CFO and CEO Confidence” tag)


I post various economic forecasts because I believe they should be carefully monitored.  However, as those familiar with this blog are aware, I do not necessarily agree with many of the consensus estimates and much of the commentary in these forecast surveys.


The Special Note summarizes my overall thoughts about our economic situation

SPX at 1825.52 as this post is written