WSJ/Vistage Small Business CEO Survey: Confidence in economy rises sharply in wake of election
Confidence in the economy has risen sharply in the months since the November 2016 election, according to the most recent WSJ/Vistage Small Business CEO Survey. In data collected January 9-16, nearly 62% of surveyed small business owners said that the results of the election made them more confident about the national economy, and nearly 50% felt that the recent election boded well for their companies’ economic prospects.
The WSJ/Vistage Small Business CEO Confidence Index rose notably between October and November of 2016 from 96.7 to 102.4 following the presidential election. The index gained nearly 10 points in December and rose again to its current level of 113.5 in January. By contrast, the Confidence Index was 98.8 in January 2016.
Among all small firms, 60% expected the economy to improve in January, nearly three times October’s 23%. This was the most favorable economic outlook recorded since the first of these particular surveys, done in mid-2012. Firms also recognized that the economy had recently improved, reported by 47% in January, up from last month’s 43% and last January’s 31%.
Other survey highlights include:
Firms face the challenge of costly hiring plans. According to the survey, the biggest challenge confronting firms is the need to expand hiring in a tight labor market. About one-in-four firms reported that finding potential employees with work experience has become much more difficult than one year ago. The total costs involved in hiring is also much higher.
Increases in revenues and profits remained unchanged. The percentage of small businesses expecting increases in revenues and profits remained unchanged between December and January, with 77 percent expecting higher revenues and 63 percent expecting higher profits.
CEOs split on repeal of ACA: 45% of CEOs said the repeal of the Affordable Care Act would help their businesses, while 43% said it would have no impact.