December 2015 Duke/CFO Global Business Outlook Survey – Notable Excerpts

On December 9, 2015 the December Duke/CFO Global Business Outlook 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:

Business spending will be weak in 2016 because of slowing growth in China and low oil prices, according to a new survey. At the same time, employment should continue to make steady gains. These are key factors for the Federal Reserve in considering an interest rate hike later this month.


Two-thirds of firms expect to increase employment in 2016, with the increase averaging about 2 percent. Employment growth will be strongest in services/consulting, retail/wholesale and construction. Manufacturing employment should shrink 1 percent.
CFOs list the difficulty in attracting and retaining qualified employees as one of their top three overall business concerns.


Other factors have dampened productivity growth. Nearly 60 percent of U.S. firms say that regulation has negatively affected productivity, and nearly half say that weak economic conditions have hurt.

The CFO survey contains two Optimism Index charts, with the bottom chart showing U.S. Optimism (with regard to the economy) at 60, as seen below:

Duke CFO optimism chart

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 2053.87 as this post is written