Wall Street Journal/Vistage Small Business CEO Survey: Economic confidence eroding

Economic confidence among small business firms is gradually eroding, according to results from the July 2017 Wall Street Journal/Vistage Small Business CEO Survey. The survey, which had 740 respondents, reported that the Small Business Confidence Index measured 110.0 in July, compared to 110.4 in June and 113.5 in January.

In his analysis of the survey, Dr. Richard Curtin of the University of Michigan surmised that “the falloff in the overall confidence index was mainly due to downward revision in the anticipated pace of economic growth.”

Other key findings from the survey include the following.

CEOs express less confidence in Trump administration

Only about one-third of small business CEOs (34 percent) said that the Trump administration had improved their business outlook, compared to about half of leaders (48 percent) in January.

“The data suggest that the overall declines in confidence have been due to disappointment in the Trump administration,” said Curtin. “These declines, however, have been largely offset by the expectation of continued growth in their firms’ revenues and profits.”

Optimism about economic growth is decreasing

The majority of CEOs (53 percent) said that they believed the U.S. economy has improved this year, compared to 57 percent last month. However, leaders were much less optimistic when asked about prospects for the future. Only 36 percent said that they expected growth to increase in the year ahead, a sharp decline from the 60 percent reported in January. Nearly half (49 percent) of CEOs said that they expected economic conditions to stay about the same for the remainder of 2017.

Investment plans and hiring plans remain strong

Consistent with the past seven months, about half of small firms reported that they plan to increase investment expenditures during the year ahead. Similarly, 59 percent of firms said they intend to continue to increase their employee counts — a figure lower than last month (61 percent) but higher than one year ago (53 percent). In addition, nearly half of firms (49 percent) said that they have increased the pay of employees in the last several years. Their reasons included talent retention (35 percent), business growth that allowed for pay increases (20 percent), and increased overtime and commissions (6 percent).


Positive outlook for revenue and profits

Three-quarters of small firms (75 percent) said that they expected gains in sales revenues in the year ahead. This is consistent with the 73-77 percent range reported since December 2016. In addition, more than half of firms (59 percent) said that they expected higher profits in the next year. Again, this is largely consistent with figures reported in the last six months.

Read the full report here.


Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Predefined Skins

Primary Color

Background Color

Example Patterns

demo demo demo demo demo demo demo demo demo demo

Privacy Policy Settings

  • Required Cookies
  • Performance Cookies
  • Functional Cookies
  • Advertising Cookies
These cookies are essential in order to enable you to move around the Sites and use its features, such as accessing secure areas of the Sites and using Vistage’s Services. Since these cookies are essential to operate Vistage’s Sites and Services, there is no option to opt out of these cookies.
These cookies collect information about how visitors our Sites, for instance which pages visitors go to most often. These cookies don’t collect information that identifies a visitor. All information these cookies collect is aggregated and therefore anonymous. If you do not allow these cookies we will not know when you have visited our site, and will not be able to monitor its performance.

Cookies used

Visual Web Optimizer
These cookies remember information you have entered or choices you make (e.g. as your username, language, or your region), and provide enhanced, more personal features. They may also be used to provide services you have asked for such as watching a video or commenting on a blog. They may be set by us or by third party providers whose services we have added to our pages. If you do not allow these cookies then some or all of these services may not function properly.

Cookies used

Google Analytics
Gravity Forms
These cookies are used to make advertising more relevant to you and your interests. The cookies are usually placed by third party advertising networks. They remember the websites you visit and that information is shared with other parties such as advertisers. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.