Monday, July 13, 2020

As Virginia Moves into Phase 3, Economic Outlook Improves

For the first time since December, more CEOs expect sales to increase over the next six months than expect sales to fall.

Read Richmond-Times 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 third edition of this special survey found finds that expectations over the next six months for sales, capital spending, and employment all improved compared with expectations at the end of May. 

More than half of CEOs (57 percent) indicated that compared with their expectations for their businesses at the end of May, the last month has been “about as expected.” More than 28 percent reported it to be “much better than expected,” while about 15 percent reported “much worse than expected.”

Economic Index Historical Data

YearQuarter 1Quarter 2Quarter 3Quarter 4
202050.43
2020 (May 27)26.2
2020 (April 27)-1.33
2020-18.73 (historic low)
2019100.594.1386.33101.47
201894.6092.73104.3097.97
2017108.97 (historic high)103.6399.17106.3
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

“The dramatic rebound of this index, from minus 18 to plus 54, reflects the nature of these entrepreneurs. CEOs of small and mid-sized Virginia businesses have been resilient and creative in adapting to a tremendously difficult business environment,” says Scot McRoberts, executive director of the Virginia Council of CEOs. Adding, “We certainly are not out of the woods yet, but these data are a good sign.”

“Survey results over the past four months indicate a positive and steady increase in economic outlook.” said said Randy Raggio, Associate Dean at the Robins School of Business. Raggio administers the survey and collects the responses each quarter. He adds, “With the move to Phase 3 on July 1, companies will have more opportunity to participate in the recovery.”

“These positive results are very welcome news at a time when stress from the continuing uncertainty is taking a toll on employees and business owners,” said Mickey Quiñones, dean of the Robins School. Adding, “They show that the hard work and sacrifices being made by many are making a difference in the performance of Virginia businesses.”

CEOS REPORT ON LAYOFFS AND WORK-FROM-HOME PRODUCTIVITY AND REOPENING TIMETABLE

  • More than 78 percent expect to continue to operate without significant layoffs. Only about 10 percent expect significant layoffs, while about 11 percent are uncertain at this time.  
  • About 54 percent of CEOs whose workforce has shifted to work-from-home report that productivity is “about the same.” A little more than 8 percent rate it “much better,” while about 15 percent rate it “much worse.”
  • More than 40 percent expect that compared with their workforce in January, more employees will work from home after the crisis is over, while about 45 percent expect “about the same” number will work from home.    
  • Although more than 32 percent of CEOs indicate that Virginia’s timetable for reopening the state is “about right,” more than 16 percent find it “a little too slow” and about 24 percent rate it “way too slow.” About 24 percent rate it “a little too fast,” and less than 3 percent rate it “way too fast.”    

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: SALES, CAPITAL SPENDING, HIRING

This month found that executives’ expectations pertaining to sales, capital spending, and employment represent improvements in economic outlook over results from the end of May.

 

2020 Q2 Economic Outlook Survey by VA Council of CEOs and Robins School of Business

To summarize, CEOs predictions over the next six months at the end of June include:

  • 43.2 percent of CEOs expect sales to increase over the next six months and 17.6 percent expect double-digit increases. But nearly 38 percent expect sales to decline, and 20.3 percent expect a double-digit decline. Roughly 19 percent expect sales to remain flat.  
  • Nearly 37 percent of CEOs expect capital spending to decrease over the next six months (compared with 52 percent last month), while more than 20 percent expect capital spending to increase. More than 43 percent expect capital spending to remain flat.  
  • More than half (52.7 percent) of respondent CEOs expect employment to remain flat over the next six months. But nearly 30 percent expect employment to increase.  Almost 18 percent expect employment to fall.
  • Eighty-two CEOs responded to the survey, which was administered June 23 – 28.
  • Multiple industries are represented in the sample, including construction, manufacturing, finance and insurance and retail.
  • The average company revenue (most recent 12-month period): $12.8 million.
  • The average employment count: 53.

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 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 more than 200 CEO members, mainly in Richmond and Charlottesville. 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 #2 in Virginia. The school’s executive education division offers customized training and consulting to area businesses.

Posted by Staff at 7:02 am
Labels: , ,
Friday, June 12, 2020

Economic Survey Continues to Improve But CEOs Want Faster Action

Although COVID-19 has forced many employees to work from home, CEOs report that productivity is “about the same”.

 

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. 


For the first time ever, the University of Richmond’s Robins School of Business and the Virginia Council of CEOs conducted a follow-up to their quarterly CEO Economic Outlook Survey to determine how CEO sentiment had changed after dealing with COVID-19 for another month.  


The second edition of this special survey found that CEO sentiment has continued to improve after dealing with COVID-19 for another month, but CEOs are not happy with the pace of reopening the state.

Overall expectations for sales, capital spending, and employment over the next six months all increased compared to expectations at the end of April. Fifty-eight percent of CEOs reported that compared with their expectations for their businesses at the end of April, the last month had been “about as expected.” Nearly 28% reported it to be “much better than expected,” while about 14% reported “much worse than expected.”

Economic Index Historical Data (May 27, 2020)

YearQuarter 1Quarter 2Quarter 3Quarter 4
May 27, 202026.2
April 27, 2020-1.33
2020-18.73 (historic low)
2019100.594.1386.33101.47
201894.6092.73104.3097.97
2017108.97 (historic high)103.6399.17106.3
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, “I’m relieved to see that small business CEOs feel like the worst is over, and that optimism is ticking up slightly. I think it is also a good sign that few of these CEOs have resorted to layoffs, indicating a belief that business will rebound sooner, rather than later.”

“Despite the uncertainty that remains around future policies, we see a gradual increase in CEO sentiment,” said Randy Raggio, Associate Dean at the Robins School of Business. Raggio administers the survey and collects the responses each quarter. He adds,  “These monthly surveys have given us a unique look at how sentiment has inched upwards as the situation has begun to stabilize.”  

Mickey Quiñones, Dean of the Robins School of Business, says, “As companies begin the slow climb out of this steep downturn, they will have to draw upon the ingenuity and skill of their employees to discover new ways of doing business.”

CEOS REPORT ON STATE OF OPERATIONS AND WORK-FROM-HOME PRODUCTIVITY

  • More than 67 percent expect to continue to operate without significant layoffs. (Only 19% expect significant layoffs, while about 14% are uncertain at this time.)
  • Seventy-three percent of CEOs whose workforce has shifted to work-from-home report that productivity is “about the same.” Twelve percent rate it “much better,” while 15% rate it “much worse.”  And 42% expect that compared with their workforce in January, more employees will work from home after the crisis is over.  
  • Although nearly 37% of CEOs indicate that Virginia’s timetable for reopening the state is “about right,” nearly half find it “a little too slow” (17%) or “way too slow” (30.4%).  About 11% rate it “a little too fast,” and only 5% rate it “way too fast.”    

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: SALES, CAPITAL SPENDING, HIRING

This month found that executives’ expectations for sales, hiring and employment improved slightly over last month. To summarize, CEOs predictions over the next six months include:

  • 56.1 percent expect sales to be lower over the next six months (an improvement from 77% last month). 42.7 percent expect the decline to be more than 10 percentage points (compared 66 percent). 
  • About 32 percent expect sales to increase (vs. 13 percent), while 12.2 percent expect sales to remain flat (vs. 10 percent).  
  • About 52 percent of CEOs expect capital spending to decrease (compared with 73 percent last month)
  • Nearly 10 percent expect capital spending to increase over the next six months (no change).
  • More than 38 percent expect capital spending to remain flat (vs. 17 percent).  
  • Twenty-seven percent of respondent CEOs expect employment to decrease over the next six months (down from 37 percent last month).
  • 51 percent expect employment to remain flat (vs. 53 percent), and 22 percent expect an increase in employment (vs. 10 percent).  
  • 82 CEOs responded to the survey, which was administered May 20-22. 
  • Multiple industries are represented in the sample, including construction, manufacturing, finance, insurance, and retail.
  • The average company whose CEO responded to this survey had about $21 million in revenue for the most recent 12-month period.
  • The average employment was about 47.

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 more than 200 CEO members, mainly in Richmond and Charlottesville. 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 8:23 am
Wednesday, April 29, 2020

April Economic Survey As Bad as Virginia CEOs Had Expected

Another month into COVID-19, economic outlook starts to improve, but still a long way to go

 

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. 

For the first time ever, the University of Richmond’s Robins School of Business and the Virginia Council of CEOs conducted a follow-up to their quarterly CEO Economic Outlook Survey to determine how CEO sentiment had changed after dealing with COVID-19 for another month.  

This survey reports that sixty-four percent of CEOs reported that compared with their expectations for their businesses at the end of March, the last month had been “about as expected.” Nineteen percent reported it to be “much better than expected,” while 17% reported “much worse than expected.”

Overall, expectations in March, at the end of the first quarter of 2020, were the lowest seen in the survey’s 10-year history. Those numbers improved slightly by the end of April.

Economic Index Historical Data (April 27, 2020)

YearQuarter 1Quarter 2Quarter 3Quarter 4
April 2020-1.33
2020-18.73 (historic low)
2019100.594.1386.33101.47
201894.6092.73104.3097.97
2017108.97 (historic high)103.6399.17106.3
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

“These results confirm what I’ve been hearing from CEOs – that we may have hit bedrock, and many businesses can begin clawing their way out of this hole,” says Scot McRoberts, Executive Director of the Virginia Council of CEOs.  “What is unclear is how long their businesses will be at the bottom, and how quickly they can climb out.”

“Although the outlook still is not good, this month produced the largest improvement in the index in the survey’s history,” said Randy Raggio, Associate Dean at the Robins School of Business. Raggio administers the survey and collects the responses each quarter. He adds, “We intend to repeat the survey once a month until this crisis is over to track sentiment and to give Virginia CEOs a voice in the conversation.”

Mickey Quiñones, Dean of the Robins School of Business, says,“As adaptability becomes the name of the game, opportunities to develop new skills and organizational capabilities will become even more important. At the Robins School, we are working with business leaders and organizations to provide these opportunities through our various programs and executive education offerings.”

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: SALES, CAPITAL SPENDING, HIRING

This month found that executives’ expectations for sales, hiring and employment improved slightly over last month. To summarize, CEOs predictions over the next six months include:

  • Seventy-seven percent of CEOs expect sales to be lower over the next six months (down from 87% last month) and 66% expect the decline to be more than 10 percentage points (compared with 71%).
  • Seventy-three percent of CEOs expect capital spending to decrease (compared with 82% last month)
  • Thirty-seven percent of respondent CEOs expect employment to decrease over the next six months (down from 54% last month)
  • 100 CEOs responded to the survey, which was administered April 20-23.
  • Multiple industries are represented in the sample, including construction, manufacturing, finance and insurance and retail
  • The average company revenue (most recent 12-month period): $20 million
  • The average employment count: 52

CEOs REPORT ON STATE OF OPERATIONS, SKILLS GAPS, AND GOVERNMENT ASSISTANCE

Because of the current crisis, CEOs were asked several questions that related specifically to COVID-19. 

  • About 64% believe that they will continue to operate without significant layoffs
  • 13% believe that significant layoffs are “probably” (5%) or “definitely” (8%) likely
  • Almost 24% are still uncertain at this time.

While dealing with the crisis, CEOs have identified skill gaps in their organizations. Although dealing with technology and a remote workforce was a concern, creative sales and marketing was the most frequently cited gap.

As one CEO commented, “I wish we had a full-time marketing professional to help us communicate and pivot during this time.” Another noted, “Employees who lack adaptability are standing out.”

When asked what more state and federal governments could do to help small businesses through the crisis:

  • more than 50% of the responses related to expanding or extending loan programs such as the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), and helping companies to not default on existing loans, mortgages, and rent; an indication that CEOs clearly desire to keep their employees rather than release them to unemployment programs.  
  • One CEO called for “[B]etter guidance on the specifics of restrictions for business. Provide more guidance on how businesses can comply and adopt safety protocols while still continuing to operate.” 
  • Many advocated for expanded testing and availability of personal protection equipment (PPE), while others simply stated, “Open the economy.”

CEOs offered lots of advice for the government as it decides when to relax/remove restrictions on business operations. CEOs were split on ‘go slow’ versus ‘move fast,’ with some recommending a ‘cost/benefit’ approach. Part of the divergence between ‘go slow’ and ‘move fast’ can be explained by differences in risk by industry and region. CEOs advocating faster movement point out that opening up is not a mandate, but a choice. Those that wish to open, and customers who feel comfortable, should be allowed to conduct business, but those who are more vulnerable should be given the choice to stay home. 

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. 

This is the first time it has been done at a time other than end of quarter.

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 more than 200 CEO members, mainly in Richmond and Charlottesville. 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 8:24 am
Friday, March 27, 2020

Economic Survey Reports Outlook Collapse and Historic Negative Index Amid COVID-19 Outbreak

Economic Survey Header

Read Richmond Times 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 first quarter 2020 CEO Economic Outlook Survey by the University of Richmond’s Robins School of Business and the Virginia Council of CEOs finds that fewer than 7% of Virginia CEOs expect sales, capital spending, or employment to increase over the next six months. Overall, expectations at the end of the first quarter of 2020 were the lowest seen in the survey’s 10-year history, producing the first-ever negative index.

Economic Index Historical Data

YearQuarter 1Quarter 2Quarter 3Quarter 4
2020-18.73 (historic low)
2019100.594.1386.33101.47
201894.6092.73104.3097.97
2017108.97 (historic high)103.6399.17106.3
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

FINDING A WAY THROUGH THE CRISIS 

Scot McRoberts, Executive Director of the Virginia Council of CEOs says, “I’ve heard from several small and mid-sized business CEOs that it is like someone turned off the faucet. Suddenly last week, no one is calling, no one is buying. Some of these businesses will go under.”


“We are working hard to help our CEOs stay connected so that they can help one another.” – Scot McRoberts


“We have never seen such a complete reversal in CEO sentiment. Just last quarter, CEOs seemed optimistic for a continued strong economy,” said Randy Raggio, Associate Dean at the Robins School of Business. Raggio administers the survey and collects the responses each quarter. “Now, everything has collapsed and none has any certainty about the future.”

However, McRoberts believes that “many will find a way through this crisis by relying on reserves, scaling back, and innovating within the current environment.” He assures VACEO members, “We are working hard to help our CEOs stay connected so that they can help one another.”

Mickey Quiñones, Dean of the Robins School of Business, noted, “The sentiment expressed by these executives is consistent with what we have heard in our own conversations with business leaders over the last couple of weeks. One of the great things I have learned in my short time in the Robins School is that our faculty are viewed as valuable experts in all kinds of economic conditions, and we are ready to help them through this crisis.”

CEOs RESPOND TO COVID-19. WEIGH-IN ON TAX RELIEF MEASURES

Because of the current crisis, CEOs were asked several questions that related specifically to COVID-19. More than 50% believe that they have been able to quickly adapt to the disruption caused by COVID-19 so that they will continue to operate without significant layoffs, but 14% believe that significant layoffs are “probably” (9%) or “definitely” (5%) likely. Thirty-two percent are still uncertain at this time.

CEOs were asked in what ways COVID-19 has caused them to change products, markets, or customers. Many have moved to virtual offerings and interactions, but many others are not able to make changes and are trying to cope with expected declines in sales. As one wrote, “We are just slow…less business.” A few are lowering prices to encourage sales.

When asked what “other extraordinary steps your business is taking,” nearly all mentioned remote work and sanitation/cleaning/health guidelines. As one CEO responded, “Cleaning…all the time. Working from home for those who can.” A few mentioned pay cuts and furloughs, and those in business-to-business markets emphasized the importance of continued client contact.

When asked what state and federal governments could do to help small businesses through the crisis, there is a clear consensus that in order to remain in business tax relief and low- or no-interest loans are required. CEOs desire to keep their employees rather than release them to unemployment programs.  

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: SALES, CAPITAL SPENDING, HIRING

The first quarter survey found that executives’ expectations for sales, hiring, capital spending fell. To summarize, CEOs predictions over the next six months include:

  • More than 87 percent expect sales to be lower 
  • 82 percent of respondents expect capital spending to decrease 
  • 54 percent expect employment to decrease (40 percent expect employment to remain flat)
  • 101 CEOs responded to the survey, the largest number of respondents in the history of the survey, 
  • The survey was administered March 18-23
  • Multiple industries are represented in the sample, including construction, manufacturing, finance and insurance and retail
  • The average company revenue (most recent 12-month period): $11 million
  • The average employment count: 57

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 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 215 CEO members, mainly in Richmond and Charlottesville. 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 8:57 am
Labels:
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
2020-18.73 (historic low)
2019100.594.1386.33101.47
201894.6092.73104.3097.97
2017108.97 (historic high)103.6399.17106.3
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