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."
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