The CFO Survey First Quarter 2021 – Notable Excerpts

On April 7, 2021 the latest CFO Survey (formerly called the “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 press release, I found the following to be the most notable excerpts – although I don’t necessarily agree with them:

CFOs expressed growing optimism for their own firms, with average optimism at 73.2 on a scale of 0 to 100 — above the fourth-quarter 2020 reading of 71. When asked to rate their optimism about the overall U.S. economy, the average rating was 67.7, which was a marked increase from the 61.6 reading in the fourth quarter.

“This pick-up in optimism is evident in the robust expectations firms have for revenue and employment growth in 2021,” said Brent Meyer, senior advisor and economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. “Most firms also anticipate economic growth for reasons separate from the American Rescue Plan Act — the majority of respondents did not expect the fiscal relief plan to impact employment or revenue growth.”

This CFO Survey contains an Optimism Index chart, with the blue line showing U.S. Optimism (with regard to the economy) at 67.7, as seen below:

The CFO Survey: Optimism Indexes

[Note: The dashed vertical line denotes a moderate change in the question wording and presentation. Please see The CFO Survey Methodology for further information.]

It should be interesting to see how well the CFOs predict business and economic conditions going forward.   I discussed past 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 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 4079.95 as this post is written