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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.

Thousands without power as "hazardous" winter storm lashes East Coast

Winter view from Charlotte as winter storm Izzy creates dangerous conditions in Charlotte, N.C. on Jan. 16. Photo: Peter Zay/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

A major winter storm was lashing much of the East Coast on Sunday, causing widespread power outages and disrupting travel over the holiday weekend.

The big picture: Heavy snow and ice accumulations are "likely to produce hazardous travel," downed trees and more power outages from the Mid-South to the Northeast, per the National Weather Service. Some parts of the U.S. can expect to see up to a foot of snow through Monday.

Updated 4 hours ago - Science

Volcanic eruption in Tonga caused "significant" damage

This satellite image of the eruption on Jan. 15 taken by Himawari-8, a Japanese weather satellite operated by Japan Meteorological Agency and released by National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT). Photo: NICT via AP

Significant damage has been reported in Tonga following an undersea volcanic eruption on Saturday, which covered the Pacific nation in ash and cut off communication lines.

Driving the news: The eruption triggered tsunami warnings across Tonga's islands and in other regions, including the West Coast of the U.S. and New Zealand.