Survey shows U.S. CEOs modestly more upbeat on economy and spending

Six-month outlook for sales hits a three-year high this quarter.

The Business Roundtable released its first quarter 2015 CEO Economic Outlook Index, which provides a picture of the future direction of the U.S. economy based upon CEOs’ plans for sales, capital spending and hiring. The overall Index is up from the fourth quarter of 2014, but has been in the same general range for the past year and a half. The six-month outlook for sales hit a three-year high this quarter.

CEOs said they expect 2015 gross domestic product (GDP) growth of 2.8 percent, slightly below consensus estimates, but a 0.4 percentage point increase over their projection from the fourth quarter of 2014.

“The U.S. economy and the job outlook are starting the year in a stronger position than 2014. Almost half of CEOs plan to increase capital spending in the next six months, which shows that passage of tax-extender legislation late last year gave some companies greater confidence to invest more in the United States,” said Randall Stephenson, Chairman of Business Roundtable and Chairman and CEO of AT&T Inc.

“But we need to give more businesses the confidence to increase investment to create more good-paying, middle-class jobs and boost U.S. economic growth. That would happen if Congress and the Administration pass Trade Promotion Authority, as well as act on business tax reform, infrastructure investment and smart regulation that encourage and accelerate business investment.”

The CEOs’ response to a special question on the benefits of more trade opportunities clearly indicates that increased international trade would result in more U.S. hiring.

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Source: Business Roundtable