America’s CEOs Sharply Reduce Expectations for U.S. Economy

Policy Uncertainty Drives Weak Outlook on Sales, Hiring, Capital Spending and GDP

WASHINGTON--()--The results of Business Roundtable’s (BRT) third quarter CEO Economic Outlook Survey for 2012 show a further downturn in CEOs’ expectations for sales, capital spending and hiring for the next six months. The Business Roundtable CEO Economic Outlook Survey Index decreased to 66.0 in the third quarter of 2012 from 89.1 in the second quarter of 2012, the lowest reading since the third quarter of 2009 and the third largest single quarter drop in the survey’s history.

“CEOs foresee slower overall economic growth for 2012 and have lower expectations for sales, capital expenditures and hiring compared to last quarter,” said Jim McNerney, Chairman of Business Roundtable and Chairman, President and CEO of The Boeing Company. “The downshift in quarterly sentiment reflects continuing concern about the strength of the recovery, including uncertainty over the approaching fiscal cliff and accompanying debates about the tax code, sequestration and the debt ceiling.”

Survey Results

The survey’s key findings from this quarter and the second quarter of 2012 include:

             
    2012 Q3  

Quarterly %
Change
Increase

  2012 Q2
  Increase   No Change   Decrease     Increase   No Change   Decrease
How do you expect your company’s sales to change in the next six months?   58%   27%   15%   -17%   75%   20%   6%
How do you expect your company’s U.S. capital spending to change in the next six months?   30%   51%   19%   -13%   43%   45%   12%
How do you expect your company’s U.S. employment to change in the next six months?   29%   37%   34%   -7%   36%   44%   20%
       

In terms of the overall U.S. economy, Business Roundtable members estimate real GDP will grow by 1.9 percent in 2012, down from last quarter’s estimate of 2.1 percent.

Third Quarter 2012 CEO Economic Outlook Survey Index

The Business Roundtable CEO Economic Outlook Survey Index – a composite index of CEO expectations for the next six months of sales, capital spending and employment – trended downward to 66.0 in the third quarter of 2012 from 89.1 in the second quarter of 2012. This marks the lowest point for the index since the third quarter of 2009.

Business Roundtable’s CEO Economic Outlook Survey, conducted quarterly since the fourth quarter of 2002, provides a forward-looking view of the economy by BRT member CEOs.

The survey was completed between August 30 and September 14, 2012. Responses were received from 138 member CEOs, 65 percent of the total BRT membership. The percentages in some categories may not equal 100 due to rounding. Results of this and all previous surveys can be found at http://www.brt.org/ceo_survey.

Business Roundtable (BRT) is an association of chief executive officers of leading U.S. companies with more than $7.3 trillion in annual revenues and nearly 16 million employees. BRT member companies comprise nearly a third of the total value of the U.S. stock market and invest more than $150 billion annually in research and development – equal to 61 percent of U.S. private R&D spending. Our companies pay $182 billion in dividends to shareholders and generate nearly $500 billion in sales for small and medium-sized businesses annually.

BRT companies give more than $9 billion a year in combined charitable contributions.

Please visit us at www.brt.org, check us out on Facebook and LinkedIn, and follow us on Twitter.

Photos/Multimedia Gallery Available: http://www.businesswire.com/cgi-bin/mmg.cgi?eid=50421459&lang=en

Contacts

Business Roundtable
Amanda DeBard, 202-496-3269

CEO Economic Outlook Index (Graphic: Business Wire)

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Release Summary

The results of Business Roundtable’s third quarter CEO Economic Outlook Survey for 2012 show a further downturn in CEOs’ expectations for sales, capital spending and hiring for the next six months.

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Contacts

Business Roundtable
Amanda DeBard, 202-496-3269