Follow the Leaders
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 Survey.”
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, administers the survey and collects the responses each quarter.
Overall, the most recent Economic Outlook survey reflects concerns over the upcoming election and sluggish economy among chief executives in central Virginia. The survey’s index, which measures executives’ views on projected hiring, capital spending and sales over the next six months, fell sharply from its highest ever level in Q1 2016 back to the long-run average. The survey has been administered quarterly since 2010.
Says Scot McRoberts, executive director of the Virginia Council of CEOs, “I continue to hear guarded optimism among small business CEOs. They seem to be more guarded this quarter — with global uncertainty and a tumultuous presidential race,” said Scot McRoberts, executive director of the Virginia Council of CEOs.
“Results seem to reflect caution….”
The executives’ revenue outlook remained strong with 67 percent of respondents expecting an increase in sales over the next six months, down only slightly from the 72 percent that projected an increase when surveyed a quarter ago. Thirty-eight percent of respondents expect sales to increase by more than 10 percent over the next six months, which is identical to the number last quarter. However, only 32 percent of respondents expect capital spending to increase over the next six months, which is down from 40 percent last quarter, while 57 percent expect capital spending to stay flat. Forty-eight percent expect employment to increase over the next six months, which is down from more than 60 percent last quarter, while 48 percent expect employment to remain flat.
“Although there was a slight increase in the number of executives who expect sales and capital spending to fall over the next six months, this doesn’t seem to signal a pullback,” said Raggio. “Rather, based on open-ended comments in the survey, the results seem to reflect caution as the election approaches and the economy is still on a slow-growth trajectory.”
Next quarter’s survey will ask specifically about the election and the impact of Brexit on central Virginia companies.
Economic Outlook Index
The results also provide an overall economic outlook index, which is based on businesses’ projected six-month sales, spending and employment figures.
About the 2016, Second Quarter Robins School of Business / VACEOs Economic Survey
The Virginia Council of CEOs is a nonprofit organization, whose mission is to connect the CEOs of second-stage companies so they can learn from each other and grow their businesses. The Council is led by a board of directors, which is comprised of 7 members and the executive director. Currently, there are 190 CEO members. Sixty-five CEOs responded to the survey, and the average company had about $7.5 million in revenue for the most recent 12-month period. Multiple industries are represented in the sample, including construction, manufacturing, finance and insurance and retail). The average employment of companies whose CEO responded to this survey was about 44.
About the Robins School of Business
The Robins School of Business is the only fully accredited, top-ranked undergraduate business school that also is part of a top-ranked liberal arts university. Bloomberg Businessweek ranks both the Robins School’s undergraduate and part-time MBA programs among the top 25 in the country in their respective categories. The school’s executive education division offers open enrollment courses and customized leadership development, training and consulting.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.