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.