The nation’s top CEOs stepped up their hiring and investment plans in the first quarter amid a burst of confidence over President Trump’s pro-business agenda, showing no signs that early political roadblocks had dimmed their optimism.
Meanwhile, according to a USA Today report, small business optimism pulled back slightly but remained near its recent record high.
“CEOs are increasingly positive about the direction of U.S. economy,” Joshua Bolten, the head of Business Roundtable, an association of chief executives of the nation’s leading companies, told reporters on a conference call Tuesday. “I think it’s fair to say that CEOs see the business environment as improving with the President’s focus on jobs and growth.”
Forty-one percent of CEOs plan to increase hiring in the next six months, up from 35% in the fourth quarter, according to a Business Roundtable survey. Just 18% expect to reduce employment, down from 30% late last year.
And 46% of the top executives intend to increase capital spending, up from 35%. Just 13% plan to rein in such investment, down from 21%.
Their more expansive plans are rooted in an optimistic outlook. Seventy-eight percent of those surveyed believe sales will rise in the next six months, up from 67% in the prior quarter. Just 4% expect sales to fall, down from 14%.
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