Only 15% of CEOs Expect a Worsening Economy

SAN DIEGO, July 12, 2010 /PRNewswire/ — CEO confidence is up even amidst talk of a double dip recession, according to the Vistage CEO Confidence Index 2nd quarter results. While CEOs of small to medium sized businesses have lowered their expectations for the pace of growth in the overall economy, they remain confident that, over the next twelve months, they will increase revenues and profits, as well as hire new employees. In the fourth quarter of 2008, CEO confidence indexed at 48.7 – an all-time low since the survey began in 2003. According to University of Michigan’s Dr. Richard Curtin, who has directed the survey since its inception, CEO confidence rose to 94.4 this quarter, marking the sixth consecutive quarterly increase.

According to Vistage International Chairman and CEO Rafael Pastor, the Q2 results are particularly significant, “CEOs of small to medium size companies have adjusted to the lean economy, are doing more with less, and have positioned their companies for success. Their continued confidence sends a strong message that small and medium sized businesses will be among those who will lead our overall economic recovery.”

Other highlights of the survey of more than 1,600 CEOs of small to medium sized businesses, all of whom are members of Vistage International include:

Employment Slowly Improves. Planned declines in employment fell to just 9% in the 2nd quarter of 2010, the lowest level in three years. Plans to expand their workforce were reported by 44% of all CEO’s in the 2nd quarter survey, unchanged from the prior quarter. Among all firms, however, 47% expected to keep the overall number of employees constant, up from 44% in the prior quarter and the highest percentage in the past decade.

Slow Gains in Revenues and Profits. Growth in revenues was expected by two-thirds of all firms in the 2nd quarter, unchanged from the prior quarter but well above the half of all firms that expected revenue gains a year ago. Rising profits were expected by 54% of all firms in the 2nd quarter of 2010, a level that has remained unchanged over the prior three quarters.

Government Does Not Understand. . Most CEO’s (87%) believe that the federal government does not understand the challenges faced by small businesses well enough to expand their business opportunities. These CEOs are concerned about increased taxes, regulations, and government intrusions that hinder entrepreneurship.

Small Business in China. Nearly 25% of the CEOs surveyed say they are or will be doing business in China, a remarkable percentage of SMBs.

about the Vistage CEO Confidence Index

The quarterly Vistage CEO Confidence Index, established in 2003, is the nation’s largest and most comprehensive report of their opinions and projections. The Q2 2010 Vistage CEO Confidence Index is a compilation of responses from 1,617 CEOs of small- to mid-sized companies in the United States, surveyed between June 24 and July 2, 2010, with a margin of error of 1.6 percentage points.

about Vistage International

Founded in 1957, Vistage International, Inc., headquartered in San Diego, California, is the world’s leading chief executive organization, serving more than 14,000 members in 15 countries. Vistage member CEOs participate in chair-led advisory board peer groups, receive one-to-one coaching, learn from expert speakers, and interact among a global network of CEOs from a broad range of industries. Its renowned Vistage CEO Confidence Index has been tracking CEO confidence and attitudes related to Main Street business issues since 2003.