Top CEOs Pessimistic About Immediate Economic Future

Chris Gaetano
Published Date:
Jun 29, 2020
A survey of the nation's top CEOs conducted by the Business Roundtable indicates that they remain worried about the pandemic's effect on the economy and don't believe things will turn around in the immediate future.

CEOs, according to the poll, are taking the pandemic seriously, as 100 percent have adopted or plan to adopt physical distancing measures in their facilities. Nearly all have adopted, or plan to adopt, routine cleaning and disinfecting, along with supportive policies and practices to protect vulnerable employees, including promoting face coverings and actively encouraging sick employees to stay home. Over two-thirds have expanded wellness support and behavioral health services for their employees, and 95 percent have expanded flexible work arrangements within their companies.

With this in mind, when asked when their companies would revert to their pre-COVID-19 levels, most said it wouldn't be until the end of next year, and almost a third, 27 percent, said it would probably take even longer than that. Consequently, the percentage of those planning to increase hiring went down by 39.8 points from last quarter to 26.3 percent; those planning capital investments decreased by 37.3 points to 25 percent; and sales expectations fell by 38.4 points to 51.5 percent. Overall, these CEOs expect U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) growth to contract by 3.8 percent in the year, compared to last quarter, when CEOs expected 2 percent growth.

The 136-CEO survey was conducted between June 1 and June 22.

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