NEW YORK — The Conference Board Measure of CEO Confidence, which was at 44 in the third quarter of last year, fell to 39 in the fourth quarter of 2007. A reading above 50 points indicates more positive than negative responses.
The last reading below 40 was in the fourth quarter of 2000, when it fell to 31.
“CEOs’ confidence in the state of the U.S. economy continues to wither and is now at a seven-year low,” says Lynn Franco, Director of the Conference Board Consumer Research Center. “Given continued trouble in the housing and credit markets, persistent volatility in the financial markets and increases in energy prices, it’s not surprising that confidence has eroded. Looking ahead, the majority of business leaders expect these lackluster economic conditions to prevail throughout the first half of 2008.”
Only 7 percent of CEOs said they believe economic conditions had improved, compared to 14 percent in the previous quarter.
For the next six months, 16 percent of business leaders expect economic conditions to improve, down from 20 percent in the previous quarter.
The majority of chief executives expect changes in their firms’ selling prices in 2008, with 9 percent expecting increases in excess of 10 percent. Firms expect to raise prices by 3.2 percent, down from 3.3 percent last year.