Monday, July 16, 2018

2018 Q2 Survey Finds New Tariff Expected to Have Limited Impact on Virginia Companies

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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 Virginia CEO Economic Outlook Survey.

The second quarter 2018 CEO Economic Outlook survey by the University of Richmond’s Robins School of Business and the Virginia Council of CEOs finds that, compared to last quarter, Virginia CEOs’ expectations for sales increased, but expectations for capital spending fell.

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, marking declines for four of the past five quarters.

Economic Index Historical Data

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



“The outlook among small business CEOs in central Virginia remains strong, but unemployment below 3.5% is limiting the ability of many of these businesses to scale,” said Scot McRoberts, executive director of the Virginia Council of CEOs.

“The survey shows that CEOs are generally positive on the economy,” said Randy Raggio, Associate Dean at the Robins School of Business. Raggio administers the survey and collects the responses each quarter. “The recent declines we have seen in the index reflect a shift from high growth to more stable growth. However, there is reason for concern related to tariffs.”


This quarter, CEOs were asked about the expected impact of new tariffs. None expect a large positive impact; roughly three percent expect a somewhat positive impact. More than 49 percent expect a somewhat negative impact; more than six percent expect a large negative impact. More than 41 percent expect no impact.


The 2018 second quarter survey found that executives’ expectations for sales to increase over the next six months. To summarize, CEOs predictions over the next six months include:

  • Nearly 72 percent expect an increase in sales (up nearly four percentage points/last quarter)
  • More than 37 percent of respondents expect capital spending to increase (down four percentage points/last quarter) 
  • 50 percent expect employment to increase
  • 64 CEOs responded to the survey, which was administered June 26-July 3
  • 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 count: 46


The Robins School and VACEOs jointly conduct the quarterly survey, which helps Virginia companies anticipate business conditions and plan for growth. The Robins School adapted the survey from the Business Roundtable, an association of CEOs of American companies that conducts a similar survey nationally. Randy Raggio, associate dean at the Robins School, administers the survey and collects the responses each quarter. The survey has been administered quarterly since 2010.

Read Richmond Times-Dispatch coverage >


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 3:02 pm
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