CEO Confidence Surveys 1Q 2023 – Notable Excerpts

On March 15, 2023, the Business Roundtable released its most recent CEO Economic Outlook Survey for the 1st Quarter of 2023.   Notable excerpts from this March 15, 2023 release, titled “Business Roundtable Q1 CEO Economic Outlook Index Ticks Up Slightly…“:

Business Roundtable today released its Q1 2023 CEO Economic Outlook Survey, a composite index of CEO plans for capital spending and employment and expectations for sales over the next six months. The overall Index slightly increased six points from last quarter to 79, as the economy continues to navigate numerous headwinds. The results mark the third consecutive quarter at or below the long-run average of 84 and above the expansion or contraction threshold of 50. This quarter’s survey was in the field from February 8 through March 8, 2023, before the Silicon Valley Bank crisis. Overall, 141 CEOs completed the survey.

In their second estimate of 2023 U.S. GDP growth, CEOs projected 1.4% growth for the year. Additionally, in a special question posed this quarter, 71% of CEOs said they were either very concerned or moderately concerned about the current trajectory of U.S. debt.

On February 9, 2023, The Conference Board released the Q1 2023 Measure Of CEO Confidence.   The overall measure of CEO Confidence was at 43, up from the previous reading of 32. [note:  a reading of more than 50 points reflects more positive than negative responses]

Notable excerpts from this February 9, 2023 Press Release include:

“CEO confidence rose markedly between Q4 2022 and Q1 2023, but continued to signal a degree of pessimism among CEOs,” said Dana M. Peterson, Chief Economist of The Conference Board. “CEOs’ assessments of both current and expected economic conditions picked up from 2022’s extreme lows, but still are far from 2021’s peak. Roughly 6 in 10 CEOs still say economic conditions are worse than they were six months ago. However, the proportion of CEOs expecting economic conditions to worsen over the next six months declined sharply from 74% last quarter to 48% in Q1, with just 33% now expecting conditions in their own industry to deteriorate.”   


Current Conditions

CEOs’ assessment of general economic conditions improved at the start of Q1:

  • About 16% of CEOs reported economic conditions were better compared to six months ago, up from 5% in Q4.
  • 55% said conditions were worse, down from 81%.

CEOs were more optimistic about conditions in their own industries to start Q1:

  • 23% of CEOs reported that conditions in their industries were better compared to six months ago, up from 15%.
  • 43% said conditions in their own industries were worse, down from 52%.

Future Conditions

CEOs’ expectations about the short-term economic outlook improved to start Q1:

  • 18% of CEOs said they expected economic conditions to improve over the next six months, up from 5% in Q4.
  • 48% expected conditions to worsen, down from 73%.

CEOs’ expectations regarding short-term prospects in their own industries also improved to start Q1:

  • 26% of CEOs expected conditions in their own industry to improve over the next six months, up from 19%.
  • 33% expect conditions to worsen, down from 54%.


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 3934.35 as this post is written