Surge in Economic Optimism among CEOs Means More Hiring and Investments on the Way

PRNewswire (03/24/21)

Economic optimism rose in the first quarter among small and midsize businesses, according to a survey of 1,579 chief executive officers by Vistage, a CEO coaching and peer advisory organization. Recent improvements in the national economy were reported by 40% of all CEOs, up from just 8% in the fourth quarter of 2020, and fears of a worsening economy dropped to just 34% from last quarter’s 76%. When asked about prospects for the economy during the year ahead, 68% of CEOs said they expected the economy to continue to improve; a year ago only 18% expected improvement.

The Vistage CEO confidence index rose to 102.4 in the first quarter of the year, up from the pandemic low of 65.5 in last year’s second quarter, and posted the largest year-to-year gain in the past decade. Attracting and retaining talent and creating a strong culture were the most important priorities for small and midsize businesses. Ninety-one percent agreed that employee development is a vital part of company culture, and the same percentage said it is a key strategy to improve retention and engagement. Planned increases in hiring were reported by 66% of CEOs, just above last quarter’s 64% and substantially above last year’s 55%.

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