Bloomberg News

Chief Executive Officers in U.S. Turn More Pessimistic on Growth

September 29, 2011

Sept. 29 (Bloomberg) -- Chief executive officers in the U.S. turned more pessimistic in the third quarter as sales projections dropped, darkening the outlook for employment and investment, a survey showed.

The Business Roundtable’s economic outlook index fell to 77.6, the lowest reading since the last three months of 2009, from 109.9 in the second quarter, the Washington-based group said today. Readings higher than 50 are consistent with economic expansion. Survey participants also reduced forecasts for growth this year to 1.8 percent, compared with a 2.8 percent gain predicted in the prior quarterly survey.

“While we see strong business fundamentals in America still, the quarterly survey results reflect increased uncertainty among CEOs concerning the economic climate and business environment,” Jim McNerney, chairman of the Business Roundtable and chief executive officer of Boeing Co., said in a statement today.

Sixty-five percent of executives said they expect sales will grow in the next six months, down from 87 percent in the second quarter, the survey showed. Thirty-six percent said they will increase payrolls, a 15-point drop from the previous three months, and 32 percent plan to invest in capital equipment, a decline of 29 percentage points.

The survey, taken from Aug. 29 to Sept. 16, represented the responses of 140 company leaders.

The Business Roundtable is an association of CEOs of corporations representing a combined workforce of 14 million employees and more than $6 trillion in annual revenue.

--Editors: Carlos Torres, Vince Golle

To contact the reporter on this story: Shobhana Chandra in Washington at schandra1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Christopher Wellisz at cwellisz@bloomberg.net


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