cloudy
Tuesday June 2nd, 2015 7:30AM

US CEOs' optimism on economy reaches 2-year high

By The Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) -- U.S. chief executives have grown more optimistic about economic growth this year, and more of them plan to boost spending and hiring within the next six months.

The Business Roundtable said Tuesday that its CEO outlook index rose to 92.1 in the first quarter of this year, the highest level in two years. The index measures chief executives' expectations for sales, investment spending and hiring.

The biggest improvement occurred in investment spending. Nearly half the CEOs surveyed said they plan to invest more in the next six months, up from 39 percent last quarter. Such spending is typically followed by more hiring as companies expand.

The Business Roundtable is an association of chief executives of the 200 largest U.S. companies.

Randall Stephenson, CEO of AT&T, attributed the better outlook to more stability and certainty surrounding tax and spending policies in Washington.

The index that measures business investment plans reached its highest level in three years.

"That's obviously very encouraging," Stephenson said. "There's a very high correlation between business investment and job growth."

More business spending on computers, machinery and other equipment would give the economy a critical boost. Consumer spending picked up a bit in the second half of last year, but business investment has lagged.

Business spending on equipment rose just 3.1 percent last year. It was the smallest annual gain since 2009, the year the recession ended.

Despite the signs of optimism, the CEOs think the economy will grow only 2.4 percent this year. That's better than last year's meager 1.9 percent but below most private economists' expectations of nearly 3 percent.

"CEO expectations for overall economic growth are well below our economy's potential," Stephenson said.

Still, 37 percent of chief executives plan to increase hiring in the next six months, up from 34 percent three months ago.

And their sales expectations improved. Just 5 percent of the CEOs forecast a drop in sales, down from 8 percent in the fourth quarter.
© Copyright 2015 AccessNorthGa.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Judge denies motions to move, delay Tsarnaev trial
Lawyers for Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev asked a federal appeals court Wednesday to overturn a judge's decision to not move his upcoming trial out of state.
10:02PM ( 5 months ago )
High court to adopt electronic filing of cases
The Supreme Court is belatedly developing an electronic filing system similar to those used in courts around the country, Chief Justice John Roberts said Wednesday in his annual end-of-year report.
7:57PM ( 5 months ago )
Storm brings snow, cold to West for New Year's
A blustery winter storm dumped snow and ice across the West on Wednesday, making driving treacherous in the mountains from California to the Rockies and forcing residents and party-goers in some usually sun-soaked cities to bundle up for a frosty New Year's.
5:19PM ( 5 months ago )
U.S. News
State DOT awards $48M contract for NE Ga. road project
The state Department of Transportation has awarded a $47.8 million contract for nine miles of work on a northeast Georgia road.
9:37AM ( 5 months ago )
Business News
Grass fire impacts rush hour traffic on 985
Rush hour traffic on I-985 was slowed by a grass fire Wednesay afternoon with one lane closed while firefighters fought the blaze.
10:19PM ( 5 months ago )
Hall County conviction, sentencing to be reviewed by SCOGA
The State Supreme Court has agreed to hear the appeal of a Hall County man when they reconvene in January.
2:37PM ( 5 months ago )
Maysville man dies from Banks County wreck
The Georgia State Patrol reports that alcohol and/or drugs were factors a single-vehicle wreck that claimed the life of a Maysville man in Banks County Tuesday night.
11:07AM ( 5 months ago )
Local/State News
Fort Gordon soldiers on their way to aid in the fight against the Islamic State
Fort Gordon soldiers on their way to aid in the fight against the Islamic State received an official send-off late last week and were expected to travel to the Middle East Sunday.
8:17PM ( 2 days ago )
Federal prosecutors indict ex-US Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert on bank-related charges
CHICAGO (AP) — Federal prosecutors indict ex-US Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert on bank-related charges.
5:08PM ( 4 days ago )
Homeowners clean up in Texas; death toll climbs to 21
HOUSTON (AP) — Homeowners dragged soggy carpet to the curb and mopped up coffee-colored muck Wednesday after a barrage of storms and floods in Texas and Oklahoma left at least 21 people dead and 11 ot...
11:09PM ( 5 days ago )
US rejects nuclear disarmament document over Israel concerns
UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The United States on Friday blocked a global document aimed at ridding the world of nuclear weapons, saying Egypt and other states tried to "cynically manipulate" the process by...
9:33PM ( 1 week ago )
Obama again avoids calling 1915 Armenian killings 'genocide'
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama will once again stop short of calling the 1915 massacre of Armenians a genocide, prompting anger and disappointment from those who have been pushing him to ful...
1:00PM ( 1 month ago )