The Corporate Executive Board's "business barometer" has inched past the "50" mark for the first time since the survey began nine months ago.
The new barometer reading of "51" means that for the first time, more business executives in the poll are confident about the future than not.
In particular, CEB found that:
70 percent percent of those in the survey expect their firms' revenues to increase in the next year.
More than half (53 percent) expect growth in excess of 5 percent.
Still, cost pressures remain a concern, and 64 percent of executives polled expect greater cost pressure in the next 12 months. The majority (63 percent), however, expect only a 1-4 percent up-tick in costs, mostly related to increasing labor costs and rising prices of energy and other commodities.
60 percent of the survey participants now expect consumer confidence (and potentially spending) to improve over the next twelve months (compared to 51 percent in Q1).
Although executives do not expect an increase in hiring, employee engagement is expected to rise and so-called "regretted" turnover (loss of staff you don't want to leave) is expected to decline.
Drilling down even further, CEB also uncovered cautious optimism surrounding supply chain and operations. In Q2, the Supply Chain and Operations Barometer retreated from a somewhat positive reading, but it settled on what CEB is calling a "cautiously neutral position." Data from the survey shows that two-thirds of supply chain and operations executives now expect a boost from rising new orders and the introduction of new products, although that optimism is tempered by rising core input prices. In addition, more than half (51 percent) expect higher supply chain disruption risk -that's up from 37 percent in Q1.
More analysis of the CEB business barometer is available here.