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CEOs’ economic outlook continues to fall in Q4

by Ana Lopez
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As 2022 draws to a close, the pressures of inflation, rising labor costs and supply chain constraints are impacting businesses in every sector.

Witthaya Prasongsin | Getty Images

Business round table issued its 2022 CEO Economic Outlook Survey on Monday and found that the overall index fell to its lowest level since the third quarter of 2020.

The survey is a composite index of CEOs’ plans for spending, hiring and sales expectations for the next six months. The index stood at 115 points in the first quarter of 2022, well above the long-term average. However, CEOs’ economic outlook declined throughout the remainder of the year, eventually falling to 73 points in the fourth quarter.

One of the biggest declines in the index was hiring plans, which fell 17 points this quarter. In addition, 49% of CEOs surveyed said labor costs are their biggest financial pressure – which is no surprise given the steady increase in salaries due to a tight labor market and inflation.

Related: Highest salary increases in 15 years fueled by inflation and a scarcity of top talent

After hiring plans, sales expectations fell eight points and capital investment plans fell seven points.

As for the best way to allay fears of a recession and economic collapse, Mary Barra, Business Roundtable Chair and CEO of General Motors, pointed to government intervention.

“We urge US policymakers to position America for the strongest economic recovery possible,” she said in the report. “Sound short-term policies will deliver long-term economic benefits and lay a solid foundation for our growth and competitiveness.”

And Barra is not alone in her call to action. Joshua Bolten, CEO of Business Roundtable, joined Barra in stating that in order to strengthen the economy, Congress must implement growth-enhancing policies and address the debt ceiling “as soon as possible.”

Related: 6 important tips for transparent leadership in economic uncertainty

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