Cautious Optimism In The Corner Office
TABLE: CAUTIOUS OPTIMISM IN THE CORNER OFFICE First, some questions about the economy. THE BIG PICTURE Overall, how would you character- Very optimistic 3% ize your outlook for the U.S. economy Somewhat optimistic 80% in 1994--would you say you are very Somewhat pessimistic 16% optimistic, somewhat optimistic, some- Very pessimistic 1% what pessimistic, or very pessimistic? Not sure 0% STEADY GROWTH The gross domestic product increased Go up 25% by about 3% this year. Do you think this Go down 9% rate of growth will go up, go down, or Stay the same 65% stay the same in 1994? Not sure 1% INFLATION OUTLOOK The rate of inflation, based on the CPI, has Go up 40% been around 3% for the last twelve months. Go down 5% Do you think this inflation rate will go up, go Stay the same 55% down, or stay the same in 1994? Not sure 0% LONG RATES RISING The 30-year Treasury rate is now around Go up 67% 6%. Do you think the 30-year Treasury rate Go down 5% will go up, go down, or stay the same in Stay the same 27% 1994? Not sure 1% JOBLESSNESS The latest unemployment rate is now Go up 21% around 6.4%. Do you think the unemploy- Go down 34% ment rate will go up, go down, or stay the Stay the same 44% same in 1994? Not sure 1% YOUR COMPANY And now some questions about your expectations for your company over the next twelve months. Please give your best estimate. Do you think each of the following will increase or decrease between now and December 1994? Increase Decrease Same Not sure Sales 90% 2% 5% 3% Full-time employees 46% 33% 20% 1% Investment in plant and equipment 65% 13% 17% 5% Typical prices of standard products or services 57% 15% 25% 3% Exports 56% 3% 14% 27% Wage and salary rates 91% 2% 5% 2% Health-care costs per employee 79% 10% 9% 2% Investment in research & development 52% 14% 24% 10% BLACK INK Did your company make a profit in 1993? Yes 94% No 5% Not sure 1% PLEASANT PROSPECTS (If yes) Do you think your Increase 86% profits will increase or decrease Decrease 6% in 1994, compared with 1993 Same 5% profits? Not sure 3% WORRIES ON HEALTH CARE From what you have heard of it, do you think President Clinton's health-care plan, if it is passed by Congress and implemented, would: Would Would No Not not change sure Be better for your company than the system we have now? 15% 75% 4% 6% Help your company control its health-care costs? 19% 74% 2% 5% Discourage your company from hiring new employees? 32% 61% 2% 5% Act as a net drag on the U.S. economy? 81% 14% 0% 5% CHEERS FOR NAFTA What impact do you think the passage Positive 51% of NAFTA will have on your business in Negative 1% 1994--a positive impact, a negative No impact 48% impact, or no impact? Not sure 0% MERGER INDEX How likely do you think it is that Very likely 18% your company will be involved in Somewhat likely 25% a substantial merger or acquisition Not very likely 25% in 1994--very, somewhat, not very, Not at all likely 27% or not at all likely? Not sure 5% MORE CONCENTRATION Do you think that there will Will be consolidation 75% be consolidation in your Will not be consolidation 22% industry in 1994, or not? Not sure 3% FALLING TARIFFS ARE A PLUS If tariff barriers in the U.S. and Helpful 75% our major trading partners continue Harmful 2% to fall in 1994, will this be helpful Neither 20% or harmful to your company? Not sure 3% FOREIGN SALES WILL RISE... Do you think that your foreign Higher 49% sales will be a higher or lower Lower 7% percentage of your total sales in Same 13% 1994 compared to 1993? No overseas sales 28% Not sure 3% ...AND SO WILL WORK FORCES Do you think the proportion Higher 33% of your full-time work force that Lower 9% works outside the U.S. will be Same 26% higher or lower in December No overseas work force 30% 1994 than it is today? Not sure 2% Survey of 402 senior executives at corporations drawn from the BUSINESS WEEK 1000. Interviews were conducted Dec. 10-20, 1993, for BUSINESS WEEK by Louis Harris & Associates Inc.
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