CEOs of small, mid-sized businesses remain cautiously optimistic, according to Q3 2015 Vistage CEO Confidence Index

SAN DIEGO (Oct. 8, 2015) — CEOs remain optimistic about their businesses’ growth, despite greater concerns about the challenging economy, according to the Q3 2015 Vistage CEO Confidence Index Survey (, the largest survey of chief executives from small- and medium-sized businesses in the United States.

“Although CEOs remain cautious about the economy, they are displaying a prudent sense of optimism about their own firms and are beginning to plan for the future,” said Dr. Richard Curtin, an economist at the University of Michigan who analyzes the survey results each quarter. “While the recent slide in confidence is of concern, the data thus far indicates that most firms still plan to expand their payrolls, and increase planned investments.”

The Vistage CEO Confidence Index, which is scored as the percent giving favorable replies minus the percent unfavorable plus 100, was 96.3 in the 3rd quarter 2015 survey – down from 103.4 during last year’s 3rd quarter results.

With CEOs beginning to look toward the future, recruiting and retaining staff remains the most significant challenge currently facing their businesses. The issue was cited by 34 percent of all respondents, more than twice as frequently as the next most cited issues – too slow growth (15 percent) and economic uncertainty (15 percent).

Other notable survey findings include:

  • When asked about planned workforce expansion, only 8 percent of firms reported planned cutbacks in the year ahead. Over half of firms reported plans to expand their workforce in the 3rd quarter survey, just slightly below the 58 percent reported in 2014.
  • Nearly three-fourths of all CEOs reported expected revenue gains in the 3rd quarter, unchanged from the prior quarter survey and slightly below last year’s figure of 75 percent.
  • Net investment plans remained stable, with 44 percent reporting planned increases in investments in new plant and equipment.

“Members’ confidence in the economy continues to slip, even as they remain confident about their own business,” said Leon Shapiro, CEO of Vistage Worldwide. “As we talk to CEOs across all industries, we continue to hear that they are becoming increasingly more focused on their business and preparing for the future, despite the seemingly declining economy.”

About the Vistage CEO Confidence Index
The Vistage CEO Confidence Index, established in 2003, is a quarterly survey of CEOs of small- to mid-sized business about the U.S. economy. The Q3 2015 Vistage CEO Confidence Index includes responses from 1,379 U.S. CEOs, surveyed between September 14 and September 23, 2015. Since its establishment in 2003, the Index has proven to be a reliable indicator for changes in GDP and employment, two to three quarters hence.

About Vistage Worldwide, Inc.
Vistage is the world’s largest CEO coaching and peer advisory organization for small and midsize businesses. For more than 65 years, we’ve been helping CEOs, business owners and key executives solve their greatest challenges through confidential peer groups and one-to-one executive coaching sessions. Today, more than 45,000 members in 35 countries rely on Vistage to help make better decisions for their companies, families and communities. The results prove it: Vistage CEO members grew their annual revenue on average by 4.6% in 2020, while nonmembers with comparable small and midsize businesses saw revenue decrease by 4.7%, according to a study of Dun & Bradstreet data. Learn more at

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