Inside the C-Suite: Plans for Hiring, Expectations for Sales Increase as CEOs Again Cite Regulation as Top Cost Pressure

2017 sales and hiring, 21st century economy, Business Roundtable, CEO Economic Outlook, CEO outlook, cost pressure, inside the C-suite, Marketing, Pr, pro-growth policies, Public relations, regulation pressure, Trump’s pledge to boost economic growthCEOs report higher expectations for sales and hiring over the next six months, but lower expectations for capital investment, according to the Business Roundtable fourth quarter 2016 CEO Economic Outlook Survey. For the fifth straight year, CEOs cited regulation as the top cost pressure facing their companies.

In their first GDP estimate for 2017, CEOs projected 2 percent growth next year. While the outlook for hiring is positive, the overall results suggest continued economic growth, albeit at a slow pace.

The Business Roundtable CEO Economic Outlook Index—a composite of CEO projections for sales and plans for capital spending and hiring over the next six months—rose by 4.6 points, from 69.6 in the third quarter to 74.2 in the fourth quarter. The Index remains below its historical average of 79.6.

CEO expectations for sales over the next six months increased by 4.5 points, and expectations for hiring increased by a more robust 14.8 points over last quarter. However, CEO plans for capital expenditures fell by 5.4 points relative to last quarter.

“America’s business leaders are encouraged by President-elect Trump’s pledge to boost economic growth,” said Doug Oberhelman, chairman and CEO of Caterpillar Inc. and chairman of Business Roundtable, in a news release. “We will work with the incoming Administration and Congress to enact pro-growth policies such as modernizing the U.S. tax system, adopting a smarter approach to regulation, investing in infrastructure and focusing on the education and training people need to thrive in the 21st century economy.”

In response to a question posed annually in the fourth quarter, CEOs once again reported that regulation was the top cost pressure facing their businesses, followed by labor and health care costs.

“It’s telling that for the fifth year in a row CEOs name regulation as their greatest cost pressure,” said Oberhelman. “We are encouraged by the promise of a renewed focus to usher in a smarter regulatory environment that promotes job creation and economic growth and also protects safety, health and the environment.”

Survey Results

The survey’s key findings from this quarter and the third quarter of 2016 include:

CEO Survey Results & Sub-Indices 2016 Q3 2016 Q4 Quarter-


Change in


Increase No


Decrease Sub-


Increase No


Decrease Sub-


How do you expect your company’s sales to change in the next six months? 59% 29% 11% 98.3 67% 19% 14% 102.8 +4.5
How do you expect your company’s U.S. capital spending to change in the next six months? 38% 43% 19% 69.6 35% 43% 21% 64.2 -5.4
How do you expect your company’s U.S. employment to change in the next six months? 27% 37% 36% 40.8 35% 35% 30% 55.6 +14.8

Fourth Quarter 2016 Business Roundtable CEO Economic Outlook Index

The Economic Outlook Index increased from 69.6 in the third quarter of 2016 to 74.2 in the fourth quarter of 2016. The long-term average of the Index is 79.6.

The fourth quarter 2016 survey was conducted between October 26 and November 16, 2016. Responses were received from 142 member CEOs. The percentages in some categories may not equal 100 due to rounding.

Source: Business Wire; edited by Richard Carufel

We've updated our Privacy Policy. Read the updated policy →

PR Biz Update PR Agency News PR People Marketing Trends
Happy young couple relaxing and watching TV at home.
Ad Science: Nielsen Study Underscores Value of Lifestyle TV Programming for Marketers, Showing It Generates Higher Ad Engagement

A new study reveals that advertisements seen in lifestyle television programming...

Female shopaholics going by the shop with big sale
Retail Marketing Shift: Consumers No Longer Willing to Pay Full Price as Deep Discounts Influence Consumer Behavior

Seventy-six percent of Baby Boomers will not pay full price when...

Fake News US Concept: Newspaper Front Page, 3d illustration on wood
A Real Plague: Weber Study Finds 82 Percent of Americans Express Concern About the Impact of Fake News

71% of American Public Says Fake News Contributes to Incivility, Study...

Thought Leaders On Deadline
small laptop with old projector showing film
Video Marketing Perspectives: How to Effectively Use Pattern Interrupt Elements to Shake Things Up in Your Videos

By Andrea Kalli, Video Designer, Editor and Marketer Have you ever caught...

Corrie Westmoreland-Vairo
Social: It’s #Personal—What Millennials Want Brands to Know About Social Advertising

By Corrie Westmoreland-Vairo, Director of Accounts, Fell Swoop Social marketing is...

Jon Bloom
Transparent Communications in the Trust Economy, Part 2—Putting a Plan Into Action

By Jonathan Bloom, CEO and Founding Partner, McGrath/Power Public Relations In part...