Survey results show CEOs more optimistic

A measure of confidence among business executives in the United States continues to climb on more upbeat assessments of current economic conditions as well as more optimistic expectations for the near future.

The Conference Board and PricewaterhouseCoopers reported that the Measure of CEO Confidence rose to 63 during the first quarter of 2014, up three points from the fourth quarter of 2013.

Readings above 50 reflect more positive than negative responses to the quarterly surveys upon which the measure is based.

“CEO confidence rose to a two-year high, with both current conditions and expectations improving,” said Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators for the Conference Board, a business research and membership association.

Chief executive officers responding to the survey upon which the first quarter results were based were more upbeat about current economic conditions — 54 percent said conditions had improved over the previous six months, up 10 points from the fourth quarter. Meawhile, 47 percent of CEOs said conditions had improved in their own industries, up six points.

Business executives were similarly more optimistic about the near future — 60 percent said they expect economic conditions to improve  over the next six months, up 10 points from the fourth quarter.

Meanwhile, 52 percent of CEOs said they anticipate improvement in their industries in the months ahead, up five points.

CEOs were more positive in their assessment of current economic conditions in the U.S, but slightly less so for Europe. CEOs remained positive in the assessment of conditions in Japan, but rated conditions in China as unfavorable and were pessimistic about Brazil and India.

Looking ahead, executives said they remained optimistic in their short-term expectations for the U.S. and Europe, but to a lesser extent for China and Japan. Expectations for Brazil and India remained moderately pessimistic.