Monday, April 16, 2018

Virginia Council of CEOs, Robins School of Business quarterly survey index falls on lower expectations for growth in sales and employment

VACEOs Economic Survey banner

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 first quarter 2018 CEO Economic Outlook survey by the University of Richmond’s Robins School of Business and the Virginia Council of CEOs (VACEOs) finds that Virginia CEOs’ expectations for sales and employment fell from last quarter, while expectations for capital spending were unchanged.

The survey’s index, which measures executives’ views on projected hiring, capital spending and sales over the next six months, fell to its lowest level since Q3 2016.

Economic Index Historical Data

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



“There’s a lot to like in the local business environment. I think small business CEOs get a little nervous when things are so good, but this remains a fairly optimistic forecast,“ said Scot McRoberts, executive director of the Virginia Council of CEOs.

“After five of the best quarters in the survey’s history, it appears that expectations are leveling off,” said Randy Raggio, Associate Dean at the Robins School of Business. Raggio administers the survey and collects the responses each quarter. He adds, “Manufacturers and companies that sell to them report strength. But interest rates are a concern among residential and commercial developers, and small-scale retailing is weak.”


The first quarter 2018 CEO Economic Outlook survey found that executives’ expectations for capital spending were significantly unchanged from last quarter. To summarize, CEOs predictions over the next six months include:

  • More than 67 percent of CEO respondents expect sales to increase (down nearly 10 percentage points from last quarter)
  • More than 41 percent of CEOs expect capital spending to increase (nearly identical to last quarter)
  • More than 49 percent expect employment to increase (down from 62 percent last quarter)
  • Over 45 percent expect employment to remain flat (up from about 38 percent last quarter)
  • Sixty-one CEOs responded to the survey, which was administered March 28 – April 4, 2018
  • Multiple industries are represented in the sample, construction, manufacturing, finance and insurance and retail
  • The average company revenue (most recent 12-month period): $13.3 million
  • The average employment count: 64



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 here >


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 10:08 am
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