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CEO confidence rebounds, shows Feb. 2019 WSJ/Vistage small business survey

WSJ/Vistage CEO Confidence Index falls 21% in one year

Small business CEOs are slightly more optimistic about the economy than they were last month, according to the latest survey conducted by Vistage and the Wall Street Journal. However, confidence among CEOs is still significantly lower than last year.

Analysis of the survey, which captured input from 681 small business leaders from February 4-11, revealed that the WSJ/Vistage Small Business CEO Confidence Index was 99.8 in February, up from 95.2 in January. Despite this increase, the index is well below the 117.0 recorded last February.

Dr. Richard Curtin, an economist from the University of Michigan who analyzes the survey data each month, attributed the gain to two factors: the end of the government shutdown and delay by the Federal Reserve in raising interest rates. However, “the February rebound did not erase the longstanding decline in economic confidence among small firms, nor resolve uncertainties about future shutdowns or future Fed policies,” Curtain states. Indeed, the percentage of CEOs that felt the economy recently improved fell from 66% last February to 32% this February.

“Hopefully, the economy has moved past the shutdown disruptions, rate hikes will remain on hold and spring will finally bring an end to the Artic chill,” Curtin explains. “While the data do not indicate a full-fledged downturn in 2019, political and economic uncertainties are more likely to increase than decline in 2019.”

Download the report for more insights on the sentiments of small business CEOs, including:

  • Opinions about recent and future performance of the U.S. economy
  • Revenue and growth expectations
  • Plans for expansion in terms of hiring and investments
  • Impact of the government shutdown on small businesses

Download full infographic

Read the January 2019 report

About the WSJ/Vistage Small Business CEO Survey

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