Chief Executives’ Confidence in U.S. Economy Improves on Housing

Confidence among chief executives in the U.S. rose in the second quarter as gains in housing and employment bolstered outlooks for the year, according to a private survey.

The Young Presidents’ Organization index of sentiment increased to 62, the highest since 65.1 in the first quarter of 2012, from 60.9 in the previous three months. Readings greater than 50 signal the outlook was more positive than negative.

Forty-nine percent of respondents said the economy has strengthened from six months earlier, up from 42 percent in the prior quarter. Executives in the construction industry were the most positive about economic conditions, with 65 percent saying they had improved compared with 46 percent in the previous three months.

“With no apparent economic headwinds for the first time in several years and stronger-than-anticipated economic data, YPO respondents have become slightly more optimistic about their business prospects,” Stephen Slifer, chief economist at NumberNomics LLC, said in a statement.

The share of respondents who expect the economy to strengthen by the end of the year increased by 5 percentage points to 51 percent. Thirty-nine percent of executives anticipate adding workers over the next year, while 62 percent forecast higher sales.

The nonprofit service organization’s findings were based on responses from 1,765 global chief executives, including 746 in the U.S., to an electronic survey conducted during the first two weeks of July. By industry, 67 percent of the participants were from the service group, 24 percent from producers and 9 percent from construction.

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