The Conference Board Measure of CEO Confidence, which had increased marginally in the first quarter of 2019, was unchanged at 43 in the second quarter of 2019 (a reading of more than 50 points reflects more positive than negative responses).
“CEO Confidence was unchanged in Q2, and remains at a moderately pessimistic level,” said Lynn Franco, senior director of economic indicators at The Conference Board. “CEOs’ expectations for growth prospects in mature and emerging economies remain subdued, with no pickup anticipated in the short-term. CEOs’ profit expectations have weakened compared to last year, with trade and tariff uncertainties and signs of a slowing global economy the likely causes of the deterioration.”
CEOs remain moderately pessimistic about current economic conditions, with 13% saying conditions are better compared to six months ago, down slightly from 14% last quarter. However, only 42% say conditions are worse, down from 46% in Q1. CEOs were less negative about current conditions in their own industries compared to six months ago. Currently, 21% say conditions are better, up from 12% last quarter.
Looking ahead, CEOs’ expectations regarding the economic outlook also remained relatively pessimistic. About 13% anticipate economic conditions will improve over the next six months, compared with 14% in the first quarter. Meanwhile, 44% expect economic conditions will worsen, up from 42% last quarter. CEOs’ expectations regarding short-term prospects in their own industries over the next six months were somewhat more pessimistic. Now, only 17% anticipate an improvement in conditions, down from 19% last quarter.