Friday, December 27, 2019

Economic Outlook Rebounds in Fourth Quarter of 2019

Read Richmond Times-Dispatch coverage >

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 fourth quarter 2019 CEO Economic Outlook survey by the University of Richmond’s Robins School of Business and the Virginia Council of CEOs finds that Virginia CEOs’ expectations for sales, capital spending, and employment over the next six months all rose compared to their expectations last quarter. Overall, expectations at the end of the third quarter of 2019 were similar to those last seen in the first quarter of 2019.

Economic Index Historical Data

YearQuarter 1Quarter 2Quarter 3Quarter 4
2019100.594.1386.33101.47
201894.6092.73104.3097.97
2017108.97103.6399.17106.3
2016102.0089.0089.67107.37
201593.9093.4299.8092.67
201486.07

88.7196.1095.92
201386.4091.6092.5389.57
201294.1081.1381.1777.57
201185.6374.1781.1788.63
201081.3394.4792.27

Says Scot McRoberts, Executive Director of the Virginia Council of CEOs, “Do the age-old rules of economic cycles still apply in 2019? Will we eventually experience a recession? Your guess is as good as mine. For now, CEOs of small and mid-sized companies are taking good advantage of the strong economy – if they can find and retain the workforce they need to grow.”

“Despite uncertainty over next year’s elections, CEO optimism for a continued strong economy seems to have returned,” said Randy Raggio, Associate Dean at the Robins School of Business. Raggio administers the survey and collects the responses each quarter.  “As one CEO commented, ‘Election year jitters make people nervous, but the economy and real estate market are otherwise strong.’ However, expectations may be hard to achieve, as CEOs see the tight job market as a major issue for the coming year.”  he adds.

CEOs were asked to share the main factors relating to their outlook, and the biggest issue they expect to address in the coming year. Expectations for a continued strong economy was the most frequently mentioned factor impacting outlook, followed by new projects or products that were expected to increase revenue. Nearly 50% of CEOs reported that talent issues are their priority for next year.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: SALES, CAPITAL SPENDING, HIRING

The 2019 fourth quarter survey found that Virginia CEOs’ expectations for sales, capital spending, and employment over the next six months all rose compared to their expectations last quarter. To summarize, CEOs predictions over the next six months include:

  • More than 71 percent of CEO respondents expect sales to increase (up more than six percentage points from the third quarter results)
  • More than 42 percent of CEOs expect capital spending to increase (up nearly 10 percentage points from last quarter)
  • Nearly 57 percent of respondent CEOs expect employment to increase over the next six months (up about 10 percentage points from the third quarter survey)
  • 76 CEOs responded to the survey, which was administered December 3-12
  • Multiple industries are represented in the sample, including construction, manufacturing, finance, insurance, and retail
  • The average company revenue (most recent 12-month period): $12 million
  • The average employment count: 60

READ COMPLETE ECONOMIC SURVEY RESULTS

The Robins School and VACEOs jointly conduct the quarterly survey, which regularly asks about expectations for sales, capital spending and employment, plus other relevant issues, helping 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 >

REQUEST RESULTS

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 smcroberts@vaceos.org

ABOUT VIRGINIA COUNCIL OF CEOs
The Virginia Council of CEOs is a nonprofit association whose mission is to connect the CEOs of small and mid-sized businesses for learning and growth. The Council is led by a volunteer board of directors, advisory board and a small staff. Currently, there are 230 CEO members. Learn more at www.vaceos.org.

ABOUT ROBINS SCHOOL OF BUSINESS
The Robins School of Business is the only fully accredited, highly-ranked undergraduate business school that also is part of a highly-ranked liberal arts university. U.S. News ranks the Robins School’s MBA program #35 in the country. The school’s executive education division offers open enrollment courses and customized leadership development, training and consulting to area businesses.

Posted by Staff at 9:24 am

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