The Business Roundtable’s quarterly CEO Economic Outlook Index shot up to 93.3 in this year’s first quarter from 74.2 in the fourth quarter.
WASHINGTON — The nation’s top chief executives like what they’re seeing and hearing from President Donald Trump and his fellow Republicans, according to survey results released Tuesday by the Business Roundtable.
The economic expectations of the heads of the nation’s largest companies jumped in the first quarter by the most in more than seven years amid optimism about corporate tax cuts, reduced regulations and a boost in infrastructure spending promised by Trump and congressional leaders, the trade group found.
“As these results confirm, business confidence and optimism have increased dramatically,” said Jamie Dimon, chief executive of JPMorgan Chase & Co. and this year’s chairman of the Business Roundtable.
The group, composed of the heads of the largest U.S. companies, said its quarterly CEO Economic Outlook Index shot up to 93.3 from 74.2 in the fourth quarter.
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It was the biggest increase since the third quarter of 2009 and the highest level in nearly three years.
The index is based on projections for sales, capital spending and hiring over the next six months, and ranges from -50 to 150, with a reading above 50 indicating the economy is expanding.
Since the survey began in 2002, the average has been 79.8. The first quarter was the first time the index has been above its historical average in nearly two years.
The increased optimism from major corporate chieftains echoed recent surveys showing small-business owners and consumers also are feeling much better about the economy since Trump’s election.
“Clearly CEOs are very positive about prospects for hiring, sales and investment,” said Joshua Bolten, president of the Business Roundtable.
“Their view of the overall economy has also brightened slightly.”
The 141 CEOs surveyed between Feb. 8 and March 1 projected that the U.S. economy would expand 2.2 percent this year. That was up from a 2 percent prediction in December but still well below the 3 to 4 percent annual growth Trump said he could produce.