The latest Vistage survey of CEO confidence has revealed that CEOs are optimistic about the economy and have set records in increased hiring in 2014. The first quarter survey found that 58 percent of participating CEOs plan to expand payrolls by the end of the year; the highest level since 2007. These firms also reported that the top issue being faced is finding, hiring, and training new staff, coming ahead of concerns about the cost of health care and economic uncertainty. Nearly half of all firms indicated an intent to increase investments in management training and leadership development programs.
Almost half of firms also reported that the economy had recently improved while just 10 percent of firms expect the economy to decline in 2014. Prospects for the economy during the year include 37 percent expecting economic growth to increase, up 1 percent over-the-year and down 1 percent from Q4 2013. Increases in investments in new plants and equipment were reported at 47 percent, the highest level in four years. Reductions in investments were expected by just 9 percent.
About 75 percent of CEOs expect revenue gains, and over half anticipate higher profits during 2014. The harsh winter caused expectations of revenues and profits to fall slightly under last quarter’s index. But these expectations remain at the highest levels recorded in two years (profits) and three years (revenues). The Vistage Confidence Index was 101.3 during Q1 2014, nearly identical to 101.5 achieved last quarter and well above the 96.6 measured in Q1 2013.