They Wouldn’t Be CEOs If They Felt Otherwise

CEOs are nothing if not confident. In a poll by TEC International among CEOs of small and midsized companies, just 35 percent said they foresee overall economic conditions in the U.S. improving during the next 12 months. (Fifty-two percent expect they’ll stay about the same, and 13 percent think they’ll worsen.) Nonetheless, 82 percent believe their own company’s revenues will increase during that period; 69 percent think the company’s profitability will improve. In effect, the CEOs as a class expect their companies to outperform the economy as a whole—an improbable, if not impossible, outcome. Be that as it may, this expectation is reflected in their plans for fixed investment: 53 percent said their outlays will grow, vs. 9 percent saying they will shrink. Likewise, 64 percent think the company’s head count will rise during the next 12 months, while 5 percent expect it to decline. A narrow majority of the CEOs also think they can make price increases stick: 52 percent believe their prices will increase, 42 percent think they’ll be flat and 6 percent think they’ll decline.