CEO Confidence Surveys 1Q 2020 – Notable Excerpts

On April 9, 2020, The Conference Board released the 1st Quarter Measure Of CEO Confidence.   The overall measure of CEO Confidence was at 36, down from 43 in the fourth quarter. [note:  a reading of more than 50 points reflects more positive than negative responses]

Notable excerpts from this April 9, 2020 Press Release include:

“In late March, CEO Confidence declined to levels not seen since the height of the Great Recession. The sharp fall was driven by a dramatic deterioration in sentiment about the current state of the economy,” said Lynn Franco, Senior Director of Economic Indicators and Surveys at The Conference Board. “So it comes as no surprise that more than 80 percent of these executives said COVID-19 has substantially impacted their business.”

“Despite the overall decline in confidence and negativity about the present situation, by early April CEOs felt less pessimistic about the short-term outlook,” said Bart van Ark, Chief Economist at The Conference Board. “This suggests that while CEOs see brighter days ahead, they also expect to experience major consequences from the current crisis. For example, workers, profits, sales, and investment activity will all take a hit, and such impacts could endure post-crisis.”

Last month, the Business Roundtable also released its CEO Economic Outlook Survey for the 1st Quarter of 2020.   Notable excerpts from the March 13 release, titled “Policy Recommendations Released…“:

While the Index decreased 4 points overall from last quarter to a value of 72.7, toward the end of the survey period, coronavirus developments led to a rapid reevaluation and sudden downgrading of CEO plans and expectations, with the Index reading significantly more negative, including all subcomponents (sales, capital investment and hiring). If taken alone, the survey results received from March 2 on would have likely reflected the steepest decline in CEO optimism since the 2008-2009 recession.

CEOs also projected 2.0 percent GDP growth for the U.S. in 2020, down 0.1 percent from their first estimate from last quarter. 

Additional details can be seen in the sources mentioned above.


I post various economic forecasts because I believe they should be carefully monitored.  However, as those familiar with this site 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 2837.36 as this post is written