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June 6, 2017 10:25 AM, EDT

US CEO Sentiment at Three-Year High Is Good Omen for Economy

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CEOs of some of the largest U.S. companies are becoming even more sanguine about sales and spending, a good omen for the economy after a lackluster first-quarter expansion, according to a quarterly survey released June 6 by the Business Roundtable.

Business Roundtable’s CEO Economic Outlook Index

• Main index gained 0.6 point to 93.9, highest since the second quarter of 2014.

• Measure of expected capital spending rose 4.6 points to 87.2.

• Sales outlook rose 0.5 point to 124.3; employment gauge fell 3.3 points to 70.3.

Key Takeaways

Prospects for legislation that will reduce taxes and spur growth continue to hearten business leaders, who had boosted their confidence in the economy after President Donald Trump’s November election victory.

While companies see sales gaining and increasingly plan capital investments, a dwindling pool of skilled and experienced labor for hire may be restraining efforts to boost headcounts. The CEOs estimate the economy will grow 2% this year, down from 2.2% in the previous survey and slightly below the median forecast in a Bloomberg survey.

Other Details

• When asked how their company’s capital spending will change in the next six months, 43% of respondents said increase, 52% said no change, 6% said decrease.

• Historical average is 80 for main index.

• Survey conducted from May 3 to May 24 had responses from 148 CEOs; readings above 50 indicate economic expansion.

• Washington-based Business Roundtable represents companies with almost 15 million employees, more than $6 trillion in annual revenue.