Economic / Future Trends

Confidence among small firms stabilized in July WSJ/Vistage Small Business CEO survey

Economic confidence among small firms has stabilized, hovering near the levels recorded at the start of 2019, according to a survey conducted by Vistage and the Wall Street Journal. The monthly survey was conducted July 8-15 and captured input from 668 CEOs and other leaders of small businesses across the United States.

The WSJ/Vistage Small Business CEO Confidence Index rose to 99.8 in July, returning to levels recorded this spring. Profitability expectations rebounded from last month’s drop, which largely contributed to this stabilization.

The July survey recorded modest gains in the number of small firms expecting revenue and profit growth. According to Dr. Richard Curtin, an economist from the University of Michigan who analyzed the data, “the trade détente has temporarily eased concerns about tariffs. Higher tariffs mean higher prices and diminished demand, so small firms also expect an impact on their profit margins, which could account for last month’s drop and July’s rebound in profit expectations.”

Expansion plans remain unchanged to last month with 58% of CEOs reporting plans to expand their workforce and 42% planning to increase investments in the year ahead. This data suggests that small firms do not anticipate a downturn that would require layoffs.

“Overall, firms anticipate a slowdown in the pace of growth and continued uncertainty about the imposition of future tariffs,” Curtin says. “While overall assessments of the national economy remain near the lows recorded under the Trump administration, they indicate a slowdown in the pace of growth, not a recession.”

Download the July report for more perspectives from small-firm CEOs, including:
· Sentiments on the recent and future performance of the U.S. economy
· Revenue and profitability expectations
· Expansion plans for hiring and investments

About the WSJ/Vistage Small Business CEO Survey

Download the Full Report
Interactive data
Download the Infographic

WSJ/Vistage Small Business report is released monthly based on data from CEOs
of small businesses with annual revenues ranging from $1-20 million. 
Results may vary from the quarterly CEO Confidence Index, which measures
sentiment of CEOs that represent all revenue ranges.

Category: Economic / Future Trends


Anne Petrik About the Author: Anne Petrik

As director of research for Vistage, Anne Petrik leads the design, deployment and analysis of member surveys for Vistage, capturing the sentiment and practices of the Vistage CEO community. This analysis, in collaboration with perspectives f…

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