Thursday, October 22, 2020

CEO Confidence Surveys 3Q 2020 – Notable Excerpts

On October 20, 2020, The Conference Board released the September 2020 Measure Of CEO Confidence.   The overall measure of CEO Confidence was at 64, up from 45. [note:  a reading of more than 50 points reflects more positive than negative responses]

Notable excerpts from this October 20, 2020 Press Release include:

Current Conditions

CEOs’ assessment of general economic conditions improved significantly compared to the start of Q3:

  • 70 percent of CEOs reported economic conditions were better compared to six months ago, up from 8 percent
  • Conversely, only 21 percent say conditions are worse, down from 90 percent

CEOs also expressed greater optimism about conditions in their own industries compared to earlier in Q3:

  • 69 percent of CEOs said conditions in their industries were better compared to six months ago, up from 17 percent
  • 20 percent of CEOs said conditions were worse, down from 76 percent

Future Conditions

By contrast, expectations about the short-term economic outlook have only moderately improved since the start of Q3:

  • 64 percent of CEOs expected economic conditions to improve over the next six months, up from 62 percent
  • 15 percent expected conditions to worsen, down from 17 percent

CEOs’ expectations regarding short-term prospects in their own industries have also turned more positive since the start of Q3:

  • 65 percent of CEOs anticipated improved conditions in their industry, up from 60 percent
  • 11 percent expected conditions to worsen, down from 17 percent 

Last month, the Business Roundtable also released its CEO Economic Outlook Survey for the 3rd Quarter of 2020.   Notable excerpts from the September 23, 2020 release, titled “Business Roundtable CEO Economic Outlook…“:

Business Roundtable today released its Q3 2020 CEO Economic Outlook Survey, a composite index of CEO plans for capital spending and employment and expectations for sales over the next six months. This quarter the overall Index was 64.0, an increase of 29.7 points compared to Q2 2020. While this is the first quarterly increase in the headline index after nine consecutive quarters of decline, it remains below the historical average of 81.7. 

In a special question asking when business conditions for their company will recover to pre-COVID levels, 24 percent of CEOs said that business conditions never declined, have recovered, or will likely recover by the end of the year. Forty percent said they expect business conditions to recover in 2021, and 36 percent said they expect business conditions to recover in 2022 or later.


In their third estimate of 2020 U.S. GDP growth, CEOs projected a 2.4 percent contraction for the year, a 1.4 percentage point increase from last quarter’s estimate.

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 3442.48 as this post is written

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