Wall Street Journal/Vistage Small Business

By Joe Galvin | April 12, 2017 | Economy

Economic optimism galvanized

CEOs of small firms affirm their sustained confidence in the economy, according to the most recent Wall Street Journal/Vistage Small Business CEO Survey. The Wall Street Journal/Vistage Small Business CEO Confidence Index was 112.7 in the March 2017 survey, almost unchanged since December's 112.0, but well ahead of last March’s 98.9. A majority of small business firms reported that, in their estimation, the economy had improved since this time last year.

A growing sense of optimism among CEOs 

According to the survey, the new administration in Washington, D.C., appears to have influenced optimism among small businesses, with 55% of CEOs expressing optimism in the growth prospects of the nation's economy. This is more than twice the percentage reported last March.

Higher revenues and profits on the horizon, CEOs say 

Well over half of the CEOs surveyed reported that they anticipate greater profits in the year ahead, while about three-fourths assert that they expect higher revenues. These signs reveal a galvanized confidence level among business decision-makers, with almost half the CEOs in the survey looking to increase their investment expenditures.

Majority of firms plan to hire in the year ahead

CEOs demonstrated their confidence in the country's economic prospects by making plans to hire more staff. Nearly 60% of surveyed CEOs say they will invest in more personnel for their businesses in the coming year. The survey data also suggests a growing need to offer better wages and benefit packages.

In his analysis of the survey, Dr. Richard Curtin from the University of Michigan notes, "While it is too early in Trump’s administration to make any clear judgments about the eventual pace of change, further increases in the optimism of small firms appear to be in a holding pattern awaiting more information on the specifics and timing of changes."

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About the author:

Joe Galvin is the Chief Research Officer for Vistage Research, the research arm of Vistage Worldwide. Vistage Research provides Vistage members with the most credible, data driven and actionable thought-leadership on the strategic issues facing CEO’s and Key Executives. Through collaboration with the Vistage experts community and curation of the highest quality content, Vistage members benefit from impactful business research specific to small and midsized business. Vistage Research is the CEO’s most trusted resource for research, data and expert perspectives on the issues and topics of high performance small and mid-sized businesses.

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