Feb 19, 2021 - Economy & Business

CEO confidence hits 17-year high as vaccine rollout continues

Data: The Conference Board; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios
Data: The Conference Board; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

In contrast to the dwindling confidence of most U.S. consumers, CEOs have not felt as good about the economic outlook as they do now in nearly 20 years.

By the numbers: The Conference Board's latest quarterly reading of CEO confidence rose to its highest since the first quarter of 2004.

  • Overall, 82% of CEOs expect economic conditions to improve over the next six months, up from 63% last quarter, the Conference Board reported.
  • The percentage of CEOs expecting conditions to worsen was cut in half, dropping to 7% from 15%.
  • Similarly, 78% of CEOs anticipate short-term prospects in their own industries to improve, up from 65% in September.

Between the lines: The nine-point jump in CEO confidence followed a 19-point surge in September from the previous survey, rising to 73 for Q1.

  • CEO confidence declined to as low as 34 in March 2020. A reading below 50 means more respondents said they were less confident than respondents who said they were more confident during the survey period.
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