CEO Survey Sees Gains in Hiring, Sales; Capex Down

CEO Economic Outlook Survey Roundup

Business Roundtable today released its fourth quarter CEO Economic Outlook Survey, reporting improved prospects for hiring and sale but a dip in capital investment. GDP growth for 2017 was projected at 2 percent. For the fifth year in a row, CEOs also identified regulation as the top cost pressure facing their companies.

Business Roundtable Chairman Doug Oberhelman of Caterpillar Inc. and BRT President John Engler briefed reporters on the survey. A news round-up:


The CEOs of America’s biggest companies don’t expect the economy to grow like gangbusters in 2017, but they are optimistic that a pro-business Trump administration will help lay the groundwork for faster growth in the future.
In its latest quarterly survey, the Business Roundtable said companies expect to increase hiring and post higher sales over the next six months. As a result, the Roundtable’s CEO economic outlook index climbed to 74.2 in the fourth quarter from 69.6.
Although that’s the highest level in more than a year, the index still lags its 79.6 historic average.


“We’re for a smarter, more effective approach to federal regulation. We’re hopeful the new administration and Congress will work together to make that a top priority,” Doug Oberhelman, the CEO of construction-equipment maker Caterpillar Inc., who serves as Business Roundtable chairman, said in a statement. As for trade, if “better deals” can be negotiated, “we’re all for it,” he said.

The Washington Times

Responding to Mr. Trump’s deal with air-conditioner manufacturer Carrier to keep jobs in the U.S., Business Roundtable Chairman and CEO Doug Oberhelman said it’s similar to governors competing for companies to relocate in their states.
He acknowledged Mr. Trump’s tactic could be uncomfortable for “some of us [who] may share our term in the bull’s eye a little bit.”
“If we combine that with policy of a very aggressive pro-job creation environment, I think we’re going to be happy with the end of that,” said Mr. Oberhelman, who is chairman of Caterpillar Inc.


CNBC video, “Caterpillar CEO: Worried about retaliatory tariffs

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