CEOs Expect To Grow And Hire But Not To Invest

At privately held, fast growing U.S. product and service companies , CEOs seem more economically upbeat than the population generally. Eighty percent of the 341 chief executives PricewaterhouseCoopers interviewed last month are optimistic about the U.S. economy's prospects for the next 12 months; 78%, a five-year high, are optimistic about the global economy.

The surveyed companies project 12-month revenue gains averaging 22.3%, and 79% expect a net addition of jobs during the next year. Capital investment is another story, however. Just 41% of the CEOs plan major new investments during the next 12 months, down from 48% three months ago.

Among the otherwise sanguine group, that decline may be attributable to several lingering economic and financial concerns. Fifty-one percent of the CEOs worry about weakening market demand, 38% cite a scarcity of qualified workers, 31% worry about decreasing profitability, and 31% are concerned with legislative and regulatory pressures. Twenty-five percent are concerned about rising wage demands.

The companies surveyed range from about $5 million to about $150 million in sales or revenues.

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