U.S. CEOs Ease Off the Confidence Pedal in Latest YPO Survey

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The YPO Global Pulse index of CEO sentiment for the United States declined 1.7 points in April to 63.3. Even with the modest decline, the U.S. index remains near its highest level since the inception of the survey in July 2009.

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CEO confidence eased back a bit in the latest YPO survey, probably reflecting the harsh winter, which kept consumers at home, and the West Coast dockworkers slowdown, which cut into retail sales and disrupted some factory production.

The YPO Global Pulse index of CEO sentiment for the United States declined 1.7 points in April to 63.3. Even with the modest decline, the U.S. index remains near its highest level since the inception of the survey in July 2009.

“CEO confidence eased back a bit in the latest YPO survey, probably reflecting the harsh winter, which kept consumers at home, and the West Coast dockworkers slowdown, which cut into retail sales and disrupted some factory production,” said Alan Zafran, managing director First Republic Investment Management and a member of YPO’s Global One Chapter. “But it is important to note the positive longer-term trend. The April reading marks the sixth consecutive quarter the U.S. index has been above the lofty level of 63.0.”

The YPO Global Pulse Confidence Index declined 1.0 point in the April 2015 survey to 61.5 from 62.5. The global index continues to track closely to its peak level for the cycle, but growth prospects around the world are increasingly uneven. While confidence rose in Asia and the European Union, and remained high in the United States, the indices for Latin America and non-EU Europe both tumbled to 52.4, their lowest levels since the YPO survey began. Notably, the European Union reading of 62.5 marked the first time that confidence in the EU region topped the global level.

Key findings in the United States
Weak first quarter dampens confidence, but CEOs remain upbeat. Asked to evaluate current business and economic conditions compared with six months earlier, 46% of YPO CEOs thought that conditions had improved, down from 56% in the January survey. The negative shift was largely confined to the production and services sectors. In contrast, 67% of construction firms reported better conditions.

When asked to look ahead six months, respondents were upbeat, although less so than in January. Fifty percent expected the economy to improve, down from 55%. Once again, construction firms were the most positive with 64% expecting improvements in this time period. The U.S. confidence indices for sales, employment and investment all declined modestly compared with the prior survey but remained higher than, or nearly as high as, any other region in the world.

Stephen Slifer, YPO Global Pulse economic adviser and chief economist at NumberNomics, said, “The slight dip in the Global Pulse Confidence Index for the United States in April is not surprising given the steady stream of weak economic statistics following the quarter’s end. However, most economists expect the slowdown to be transitory, and the continued high confidence levels for sales, employment and investment reported in the survey would seem to support that view.”

YPO Global Pulse Confidence Index
The quarterly electronic survey, conducted in the first two weeks of April, gathered answers from 2,211 chief executive officers across the globe, including 903 in the United States. Visit http://www.ypo.org/globalpulse for more information about the survey methodology and results from around the world.

About YPO
YPO (Young Presidents’ Organization) is a not-for-profit, global network of young chief executives connected through the shared mission of becoming Better Leaders Through Education and Idea ExchangeTM. Founded in 1950, YPO today provides 22,000 peers and their families in more than 125 countries with access to unique experiences, extraordinary educational resources, access to alliances with leading institutions, and participation in specialized networks to support their business, community and personal leadership. Altogether, YPO member-run companies employ more than 15 million people around the world and generate US$6 trillion in annual revenues. For more information, visit http://www.ypo.org.

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