CEOs More Optimistic About Global Economic Prospects than U.S. Prospects, According to New Business Council Survey

  CEOs More Optimistic About Global Economic Prospects than U.S. Prospects,
                   According to New Business Council Survey

CEOs Most Optimistic About Prospects in China Than Any Other Economy

PR Newswire

WASHINGTON, Feb. 28, 2013

WASHINGTON, Feb. 28, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --Top chief executives are more
optimistic about prospects for the global economy than they are for the U.S.
economy, according to The Business Council Survey of CEOs announced today in
collaboration with The Conference Board. Nearly three quarters of CEOs
surveyed expect global growth in 2013 will keep pace with 2012 and almost 60
percent expect growth to quicken in 2014.

Despite the belief that the global economy will grow in the next two years,
confidence is an issue, with 64 percent of respondents saying that they were
"very" or "somewhat" confident that growth would return to previous high
rates, a decline of 21 percentage points from the last survey in October.

"Corporations and governments around the world must work together to boost
confidence," said Andrew Liveris, Chairman and CEO of The Dow Chemical Company
and Chairman of The Business Council. "Confidence is the major arbiter of
corporate investment decisions, and is required for executives to make the
sound judgments that will be required to stimulate growth around the world."

Chief executives are most optimistic about the prospect of improving
conditions in China than any other economy, with 57 percent of respondents
expecting an improvement of business conditions there, compared to 30 percent
in the previous survey and 36 percent optimistic about improving conditions

Consistent with results from Business Council surveys for nearly three years,
the most recent survey found that the economy cannot move forward without
improving confidence.

"Sentiment has improved from the lows of last October, but members remain
cautious," said Richard K. Davis, Chief Executive Officer of U.S. Bancorp and
Vice Chairman of The Business Council. "Budget and deficit policies continue
to be the top policy concerns, followed closely by health care, education, and

Continued uncertainty and inaction from government leaders continues to weigh
on confidence and delay investment commitments. Only 14.5 percent of those
surveyed believe that the fiscal cliff deal did anything to solve long-term
problems. Eighty percent of those surveyed do not believe that the agreement
was a meaningful step to resolving the deficit issue, and 84 percent believe
it relied too much on taxes and too little on spending reform.

On the employment front, Business Council members appear to be increasingly
willing to hire workers if activity levels can improve on a sustained basis to
justify these additions. About 40 percent of respondents say they would hire
new workers if business activity increased more than expected in the next six
months, compared to 35 percent in October. When asked if they would hire new
workers if activity levels were higher over the next 12 months, 86 percent
responded affirmatively.

The Council's first meeting of the year began yesterday in Washington, D.C.
The gathered executives expect to discuss the roles of industry and government
in creating economic growth and where the impediments are. U.S. President
Barack Obama addressed the membership on Wednesday evening.

About The Business Council
The Business Council is a voluntary association of business leaders whose
members meet several times a year for the free exchange of ideas both among
themselves and with representatives of governments. In its most fundamental
form, the Council seeks to foster understanding through discussion. From these
discussions, it hopes to generate greater understanding of major public policy
issues and to help create consensus for solutions. Visit The Business
Council's website at

About The Conference Board
The Conference Board creates and disseminates knowledge about management and
the marketplace to help businesses strengthen their performance and better
serve society. Working as a global independent membership organization in the
public interest, The Conference Board conducts conferences, makes forecasts
and assesses trends, publishes information and analysis, and brings executives
together to learn from one another. The Conference Board is a not-for-profit
organization and holds 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status in the United States. Visit
The Conference Board website at

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SOURCE The Conference Board

Contact: Phil Cassidy, The Business Council, +1-212-298-7650
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