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Survey Shows High Optimism Amongst US CEO’s & Small Businesses

Optimism regarding the business environment has jumped to its highest in seven years amongst chief executives of the biggest companies in the United States according to results from a recent survey.

The quarterly CEO Economic Outlook Index issued by an industry association moved to 93.3 this quarter from 74.2 in the fourth quarter of 2016. Business Roundtable comprises the heads of nearly 200 of the biggest U.S companies. Small business optimism levels are also at a record high according to the National Federation of Independent Business. NFIB President Juanita Duggan said that the index was at a 43-year high in February although there was a slight drop over January’s figures.

Business Roundtable’s latest survey results points to renewed confidence in wake of President Donald Trump’s pro-business agenda. President Trump’s election promises that include reduction in corporate taxes and regulations as well as a stimulus in form of increased infrastructure spending are some of the key reasons for the optimism, according to the survey.

Fox Business

In a statement, Joshua Bolten, the head of Business Roundtable, said,

CEOs are increasingly positive about the direction of U.S. economy. I think it’s fair to say that CEOs see the business environment as improving with the President’s focus on jobs and growth.

Market investors also have been upbeat since the election results, with the Dow Jones industrial average going up 14 percent to hit record highs. The Business Roundtable survey found that 41 percent of CEOs intend to hike hiring in the coming six months, an increase from the 35 percent seen in the previous quarter. Only 18 percent are expecting to slash jobs, which was a drop from 30 percent of last quarter.

In terms of capital spending, around 46 percent of the executives said that they plan to increase their investments, as opposed to 35 percent seen late last year. Just 13 percent have plans to reduce their investment levels this year, which is a drop from the earlier 21 percent.

Nearly 78 percent of those covered believe that sales will rise over the next six months, which was a hike from prior quarter’s 67 percent. A mere 4 percent expect sales to fall, a drop from the earlier 14 percent.

Michael Burke, chief executive of Los Angeles engineering giant Aecom confirmed the mood, stating that the optimism with respect to the economy was at its highest in recent times. The index is based on projections for sales, hiring and capital spending planned for the next six months. The first quarter results is the first time in two years that the index has rose above the average of 79.8.

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