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CEO Confidence Rebounded in Q4; Some Pessimism Persists

The Conference Board Measure of CEO Confidence, which declined to 34 in the third quarter of 2019—its lowest level in a decade—rebounded to a reading of 43 in the fourth quarter. A reading of more than 50 points reflects more positive than negative responses.

Chief executive officers are less pessimistic about current economic conditions, with 15% saying conditions are better compared with six months ago, up from just 8% last quarter. Fifty-two percent say conditions are worse, down from 73% in the third quarter. Expectations regarding the economic outlook are less pessimistic. Twelve percent anticipate economic conditions will improve over the next six months, up from just 4% in the third quarter. Meanwhile, 44% expect economic conditions will worsen, down from 67% last quarter.

ADP: Private Sector Employment Increased in December

Private sector employment increased by 202,000 jobs from November to December, according to the December ADP National Employment Report.

“The service providers posted the largest gain since April, driven mainly by professional and business services,” said Ahu Yildirmaz, vice president and co-head of the ADP Research Institute. “Job creation was strong across companies of all sizes, led predominantly by midsized companies.”

Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Analytics, said, “Looking through the monthly vagaries of the data, job gains continue to moderate. Manufacturers, energy producers, and small companies have been shedding jobs. Unemployment is low but will begin to rise if job growth slows much further.”