US CEOs more optimistic on hiring, sales this year

Published on NewsOK Modified: June 17, 2014 at 10:23 am •  Published: June 17, 2014
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WASHINGTON (AP) — Optimism among chief executives of large U.S. companies has reached a two-year high, driven by a more positive outlook toward hiring and sales.

The Business Roundtable said Tuesday that its CEO outlook index rose to 95.4 in the second quarter, up from 92.1 in the first quarter. That is the highest level since the second quarter of 2012.

The positive sentiment among CEOs of some of the largest U.S. companies could bode well for hiring and growth. The U.S. economy has been adding jobs at a steady pace this year and the unemployment rate has fallen to 6.3 percent, a five-year low.

The proportion of CEOs expecting to hire in the next six months rose to 43 percent, up from just 37 percent in the first quarter.

Still, the outlook was not all rosy: the percentage of CEOs planning to invest more in their businesses fell to 44 percent from 48 percent.

Randall Stephenson, CEO of AT&T and chairman of the Roundtable, blamed the drop on the expiration of several investment tax breaks at the beginning of the year.

The decline is "troubling because of the high correlation between business investment and economic and job growth," Stephenson said.

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