The quarterly Vistage CEO Confidence Index, established in 2003, is the nation’s largest and most comprehensive report of the opinions and projections of small- to medium-sized business CEOs about the U.S. economy. The Q1 2013 Vistage CEO Confidence Index includes responses from 1,546 US CEOs, surveyed between March 11 and March 20, 2013, with a margin of error of 1.6 percentage points. Since its establishment in 2003, the Index has proven to be a leading indicator for changes in GDP and Employment, two to three quarters hence.
The Q1 2013 Vistage CEO Confidence Index reported an improved economy and brighter prospects for their own firms despite recent cutbacks in federal spending.
Similarly, small business owners who took the March WSJ/Vistage Small Business CEO Survey reported growing strength in the overall economy and have become increasingly confident that their firms would continue to benefit from the ongoing economic expansion. The Vistage CEO Confidence Index was 104 in the March 2013 survey, up from 101.4 in February, reaching the highest level recorded since the survey began last June.
Below are some key highlights from the Q1 2013 Vistage CEO Confidence Index (all members surveyed):
- 49% of CEOs think that economic conditions have improved compared with a year ago, up from 35% in Q4 2012.
- 68% of CEOs anticipate their firm’s sales revenues will increase in the next 12 months.
- Just 11% of CEOs found it easy to find people with the right skills to drive their business growth, while 75% found it difficult to find qualified talent.
- 16% of CEOs believe the sequester will adversely impact their business.
- 82% of CEOs expect U.S. fiscal uncertainty will continue throughout the year.
Below are some key highlights from the March WSJ/Vistage Small Business CEO Survey (members leading companies in the $1 million-$20 million range):
- 49% of all small firms in March reported that the national economy had improved compared with a year ago; this was twice the number that reported improved economic conditions six months ago.
- 53% of small firms plan to add employees to their payrolls in the year ahead.
- 69% of small firms expect higher revenues in the coming year, and 53% expected higher profits.
- 77% of small firms expect the new health law would raise their insurance premiums.