CEO Economic Outlook Index

The Business Roundtable CEO Economic Outlook Index is based on a survey — conducted quarterly since the fourth quarter of 2002 — of our member CEOs’ plans for hiring and capital spending, and their expectations for sales, over the next six months. Taking these factors together, the survey signals the direction of the U.S. economy.

Business Roundtable Q1 CEO Economic Outlook Index: Slight Dip Amid Global Uncertainty; CEOs Responding to Historically High Demand with Strong Hiring, Investment Plans


Washington – Business Roundtable today released its Q1 2022 CEO Economic Outlook Survey, a composite index of CEO plans for capital spending and employment and expectations for sales over the next six months. The overall CEO Economic Outlook Index declined 9 points from last quarter to 115 but remains well above its long-run average. 

The three subindices were as follows: 

  • Plans for hiring decreased 9 points to a value of 112.
  • Plans for capital investment decreased 9 points to a value of 106.
  • Expectations for sales decreased 10 points to a value of 125.

This quarter’s results dipped from last quarter amid global economic uncertainty due to the escalating conflict in Ukraine and high inflation resulting from historic demand, supply challenges and global energy disruptions. To bolster the economy in a period of high uncertainty, Business Roundtable continues to urge policymakers to take steps to address inflation and maintain a competitive policy environment.

Mary Barra, General Motors Chair and CEO and Business Roundtable Chair, said: “We once again find ourselves in unprecedented times both domestically and abroad. To support U.S. economic strength and competitiveness, we urge Congress to pass a bipartisan bill that includes CHIPS funding to increase U.S. innovation leadership, help strengthen the U.S. economy and expand opportunity for all Americans.”  

Joshua Bolten, Business Roundtable CEO, added: “As we navigate this period of uncertainty, it is important to strengthen the U.S. economy by keeping a competitive tax and regulatory environment. It is also important for policymakers to address inflation risks by lowering tariffs and leading on trade, opening new markets to American goods and services; by encouraging domestic energy production; and by working with business and labor to address supply chain challenges.”

In their second estimate of 2022 U.S. GDP growth, CEOs projected 3.9% growth for the year. 

About the Business Roundtable CEO Economic Outlook Survey

The Business Roundtable CEO Economic Outlook Survey, conducted quarterly since the fourth quarter of 2002, provides a forward-looking view of the economy by Business Roundtable member CEOs. The survey is designed to provide a picture of the future direction of the U.S. economy by asking CEOs to report their company’s expectations for sales and plans for capital spending and hiring over the next six months. The data are used to create the Business Roundtable CEO Economic Outlook Index and sub-indices for sales, capex and hiring. These indices are diffusion indices that range between -50 and 150 — where readings at 50 or above indicate economic expansion and readings below 50 indicate economic contraction. A diffusion index is defined as the percentage of respondents who report that a measure will increase, minus the percentage who report that the measure will decrease. The diffusion indices here are then normalized by adding 50 to the result.

This quarter’s survey was in the field from February 22 to March 11, 2022. Overall, 175 CEOs completed the survey. Results of this and all previous surveys are available at brt.org/resources/ceo-survey.

About the Business Roundtable CEO Economic Outlook Survey

The Business Roundtable CEO Economic Outlook Survey, conducted quarterly since the fourth quarter of 2002, provides a forward-looking view of the economy by Business Roundtable member CEOs. The survey is designed to provide a picture of the future direction of the U.S. economy by asking CEOs to report their company’s expectations for sales and plans for capital spending and hiring over the next six months. The data are used to create the Business Roundtable CEO Economic Outlook Index and sub-indices for sales, capex and hiring. These indices are diffusion indices that range between -50 and 150 — where readings at 50 or above indicate economic expansion, and readings below 50 indicate economic contraction. A diffusion index is defined as the percentage of respondents who report that a measure will increase, minus the percentage who report that the measure will decrease. The diffusion indices here are then normalized by adding 50 to the result.

Overall, 167 CEOs completed the survey. Results of this and all previous surveys are available at brt.org/resources/ceo-survey.

Past Surveys

2022 Q1 2021 Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 2020 Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 2019 Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 2018 Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 2017 Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 2016 Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 2015 Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 2014 Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 2013 Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 2012 Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 2011 Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 2010 Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 2009 Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 2008 Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 2007 Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4