CEO optimism has dimmed in recent months with lingering supply chain challenges, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and a fresh Covid wave in Europe dragging down expectations for the remainder of 2022. Just a few months ago, optimism among American CEOs had reached new highs.
The Business Roundtable reported Monday that its CEO Economic Outlook Survey fell to 115 in the first quarter. CEOs also indicated reduced hiring and investment plans, as well as lower sales expectations.
The group, whose members are CEOs of major US corporations, emphasised that, despite the decline, the survey still reflects historically strong hiring plans and growth expectations.
Mary Barra, General Motors Chair and CEO and Business Roundtable Chair, said: “We once again find ourselves in unprecedented times both domestically and abroad."
Since the beginning of the war on February 24, the economic consequences have been widespread. Among other things, the West has imposed harsh sanctions on Russia, threatening to disrupt the supply of energy, food, and other essential commodities.
It's not just Ukraine. The Business Roundtable acknowledged that the ongoing threat of Covid-19, as well as rising inflation, are causing uncertainty, particularly when CEOs are asked to forecast the second half of this year.
The survey's release coincides with President Joe Biden's scheduled meeting with Business Roundtable members at the group's Washington office on Monday evening.
Business Roundtable is an association of chief executive officers of America’s leading companies. The Economic Outlook Survey, conducted quarterly since the fourth quarter of 2002, provides a picture of the future direction of the US economy by asking CEOs to report their company's sales expectations, capital spending plans, and hiring plans for the next six months.