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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

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.

CCP releases two jailed Canadians after Huawei CFO deal with DOJ

Photo: Sheldon Cooper/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Two Canadians imprisoned by the Chinese government for over 1,000 days have been released and are expected to arrive in Canada on Saturday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Friday.

Why it matters: Their release comes hours after Huawei Technologies CFO Meng Wanzhou reached a deal with the U.S. Department of Justice that resolves the criminal charges against her and could pave the way for her to return to China.

Updated 22 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Arizona GOP's private recount of 2020 election confirms Biden's win

Contractors working on behalf of the GOP examine and recount 2020 ballots at Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix in May. Photo: Courtney Pedroza/Getty Images

In an odd coda to the 2020 election, private contractors conducting a GOP-commissioned recount in Arizona confirmed President Biden’s win in Maricopa County.

Why it matters: The unofficial, party-driven recount has been heavily covered on cable news as part of former President Trump's continued effort to sow doubt about the election result.