Friday, July 14, 2017

2017 2nd Quarter Economic Survey Results

Each quarter the Virginia Council of CEOs (VACEOs) and University of Richmond’s Robins School of Business partner to take the pulse of top executives in the region through a comprehensive “Economic Outlook Survey.”

The second quarter 2017 CEO Economic Outlook survey finds that the level of optimism among central Virginia CEOs remains near the highest levels seen in the survey’s seven-year history.

Economic Index Historical Data

YearQuarter 1Quarter 2Quarter 3Quarter 4
2020-18.73 (historic low)
2017108.97 (historic high)103.6399.17106.3


The survey’s index, which measures executives’ views on projected hiring, capital spending and sales over the next six months, was the third-highest ever, surpassed only by the two all-time highs reached in the previous two quarters (Q4 2016, Q1 2017). The survey has been administered quarterly since 2010.

“As I work with the CEOs of small and mid-sized companies across central Virginia, I hear almost universally that the most significant restraint on growth is their ability to attract and retain the talent they need,” said Scot McRoberts, executive director of the Virginia Council of CEOs. “Some of these CEOs are getting pretty creative. One is offering five weeks of vacation to new hires!”

“The past three quarters have generated the three highest in the history of the survey,” said Randy Raggio, Associate Dean at the Robins School of Business. Raggio administers the survey and collects the responses each quarter. He adds, “Current results seem to be driven by actual market conditions rather than speculation about the economy under a new administration, as CEOs cite higher business and consumer demand as driving their responses. However, several CEOs cited difficulty finding appropriate talent to fuel their efforts.”


The 2017 second quarter survey found that executives’ expectations for sales fell slightly from last quarter’s. To summarize, CEOs predictions over the next six months include:

  • More than 73 percent expect an increase in sales (down about eight percentage points from last quarter)
  • Nearly 33 percent of respondents expect sales to increase by more than 10 percent
  • 42 percent of respondents expect capital spending to increase (compared to 46 percent last quarter)
  • More than 53 percent expect capital spending to stay flat
  • More than 56 percent expect employment to increase, down from about 65 percent last quarter
  •  64 CEOs responded to the survey, which was administered June 27 – July 6
  • Multiple industries are represented in the sample, including construction, manufacturing, finance and insurance and retail.
  • The average company revenue (most recent 12-month period): $12 million
  • The average employment: 52


The survey, adapted from a similar Business Roundtable national survey, provides a snap shot of the overall economic outlook index for various companies within the region. It also helps central Virginia companies anticipate business decisions and plan for growth. Randy Raggio, Associate Dean at the Robins School of Business, administers the survey and collects the responses each quarter.

Read Richmond Times-Dispatch coverage >

Read Robins School of Business press release >



The Council continues to expand the survey beyond its members, offering any area business owners whose companies gross at least $1 million in annual revenue the opportunity to participate. If enough businesses participate, the council will provide survey results by industry. Participation is free, and all participants will receive copies of the survey data.

Business owners and CEOs who would like to participate in the next survey should contact Scot McRoberts at

Posted by Staff at 12:27 pm

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