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The Conference Board; Chart: Axios Visuals

U.S. consumers remain uncertain about the economic environment but CEOs are feeling incredibly confident, the latest survey from the Conference Board shows.

Why it matters: Confidence among chief executives jumped 19 points from its last reading in July, rising above the 50-point threshold that reflects more positive than negative responses for the first time since 2018.

The big picture: Judging by their stated expectations, CEO confidence is not a good sign for workers. Over the next 12 months, CEOs said they expect to cut jobs, hold down employee pay and reduce capital spending.

  • 37% of CEOs expected to reduce their capital budgets in the year ahead, while 38% expected no change and 25% anticipated increasing spending.
  • 34% expected a net reduction in their workforce, another 34% expected no change and just 9% expected an expansion of the workforce above 3%.
  • 21% foresaw no increase in their employees’ wages and 5% said they may reduce wages.
  • 62% of CEOs expected little to no problems finding qualified workers, while 11% expected widespread talent shortages or hiring problems.

Worth noting: Consumers globally grew slightly less confident this week, continuing a trend evidenced over the past six weeks across the income spectrum, per data provider Morning Consult’s Index of Consumer Expectations.

  • The poll surveys 11,000 adults per day in 15 countries.
Data: Morning Consult; Chart: Axios Visuals

Go deeper

Erica Pandey, author of @Work
Jan 13, 2021 - Economy & Business

The age of wartime CEOs

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

In the last year, Americans have worked through a deadly pandemic, social isolation, racial injustice protests, a presidential election and, now, an insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

Why it matters: Laboring through this string of crises is exacerbating employee burnout and pushing CEOs to turn into wartime leaders.

Acting Capitol Police chief: Phone logs show Jan. 6 National Guard approval was delayed

Pittman at a congressional tribute for fallen officer Brian Sicknick. Photo: Erin Schaff-Pool/Getty Images

Acting U.S. Capitol Police chief Yogananda Pittman testified on Thursday that cellphone records show former USCP chief Steven Sund requested National Guard support from the House sergeant-at-arms as early as 12:58pm on Jan. 6, but he did not receive approval until over an hour later.

Why it matters: Sund and former House sergeant-at-arms Paul Irving clashed at a Senate hearing on Tuesday over a dispute in the timeline for when Capitol Police requested the National Guard during the Capitol insurrection.

Manhattan prosecutors reportedly obtain millions of pages of Trump's tax records

Photo: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Manhattan district attorney is now in possession of millions of pages of former President Trump's tax and financial records, CNN first reported, following a Supreme Court ruling that allowed prosecutors to enforce a subpoena after a lengthy legal battle.

Why it matters: Trump fought for years to keep his tax returns out of the public eye and away from prosecutors in New York, who are examining his business in a criminal investigation that was first sparked by hush-money payments made by Trump's former fixer Michael Cohen during the 2016 election.