Business Roundtable Outlook: CEO Uncertainty Remains Into 2013

Money, US, $100 bills
Money, US, $100 bills

The Business Roundtable has released its last CEO Outlook of 2012, which is really a year-end guide for entering into 2013. The long and short of the matter is that CEOs generally expect continued uncertainty to rule the day. These CEOs see the outlook for sales, hiring, capital spending and GDP growth remaining mostly modest in the face of the coming fiscal cliff.

Today's report is the fourth quarter 2012 CEO Economic Outlook Survey and it shows that expectations are largely unchanged. A slight decline in expectations for sales and capital spending and a slight rise in expectations for hiring have been noted, but this also follows a significant drop in expectations in the third quarter of 2012.

Some 35% of the CEOs reported that regulatory costs were of the highest concern in the next six months. Issues after that were labor and health care costs. Here is what is odd, despite the pessimism… CEOs currently expect 2.0% growth for 2013, an increase from last quarter's estimate of 1.9%. CEO expectations for hiring over the next six months are roughly neutral, which represents a slight improvement from the expected decrease reported last quarter.

The quote used is as follows:

"The continued softness in quarterly sentiment reflects deep uncertainty about the future overall economic climate, realities of a slow-growing economy and frustration over Washington's inability to resolve looming 'fiscal cliff' issues."



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