U.S. CEOs modestly more upbeat on economy, spending: Survey

Expect GDP to rise 2.8 per cent in 2015, 40 per cent expect to increase employment
By Lewis Krauskopf/Reuters
|hrreporter.com|Last Updated: 03/03/2015

(Reuters) — Chief executive officers in the United States are modestly more upbeat about the economy and almost one-half plan to increase capital spending over the next six months, a business group survey said on Tuesday.

CEOs expect U.S. gross domestic product to rise by 2.8 per cent this year, compared to a projection of a 2.4 per cent increase a quarter earlier, according to the first-quarter survey by the Business Roundtable.

Of the 120 CEOs who responded to the survey, 45 per cent expect to boost U.S. capital spending in the next six months, up from 36 per cent in the fourth-quarter survey. Forty per cent expect to increase U.S. employment, about the same level as in the prior survey.

"The U.S. economy and the job outlook are starting the year in a stronger position than 2014," said Randall Stephenson, chairman of Business Roundtable and CEO of AT&T Inc.

The Business Roundtable CEO Economic Outlook Index, a composite index of expectations for the next six months for sales, capital spending and employment, rose to 90.8 from 85.1 in the fourth quarter. The long-term average of the index is 80.5.

Eighty per cent said they expected their companies' U.S. sales will increase in the next six months, up from 74 per cent a quarter ago.

In response to a question about foreign trade, 81 per cent said the ability to sell more goods and services to foreign markets would help their company grow and be more competitive globally

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