The mood is a bit blue.CEOS Ceos, Greece: see Kéa. ARE FEELING less confident as they head toward the finish of a charged presidential election race amid lackluster job growth reports, falling sales, still-sky-high oil prices and continued terrorist alerts. The benchmark CEO (1) (Chief Executive Officer) The highest individual in command of an organization. Typically the president of the company, the CEO reports to the Chairman of the Board. Confidence Index fell in September for the second month in a row, this time by a full 10 points, to 159.7, representing the largest drop since February 2003 (see chart, left). Current Confidence sank as well, by a hefty 13.4 points.
Looking ahead, business leaders aren't expecting things to improve any time soon. Future Confidence fell 7.7 points, to 150.3, the lowest it's been since March 2004. Nearly three-quarters of our 324 respondents said they planned to grow their businesses gradually, while 22.2 percent reported no plans for growth.
Employment Confidence shrank shrank
A past tense of shrink.
a past tense of shrink
shrank shrink by 11.6 points this month, with fewer CEOs planning to hire and a greater percentage anticipating layoffs. Interestingly, while the July survey found that health care costs rank as the highest priority among CEOs, when asked to rank the factors restraining U.S. hiring, CEOs didn't put health care costs high on the list. Instead, 22 percent of CEOs blamed a negative sales outlook for the modest pace of U.S. hiring, with "expected profitability" of the company taking second place at 17 percent. Only 10 percent blamed health care as the driving factor. And a paltry pal·try
adj. pal·tri·er, pal·tri·est
1. Lacking in importance or worth. See Synonyms at trivial.
2. Wretched or contemptible. 5 percent cited outsourcing, as represented by relative costs of domestic versus international labor (see chart, right).
The fact that health care and the relative costs of domestic labor ranked so low on the list of factors suggests that political pundits don't truly understand what impacts a CEO's decision to hire. "Profitability--actual or planned--has to be the overwhelming factor in planning of new employment," wrote Jeff Stephenson, CEO of Bennett & Curran, a wholesale book distributor in Englewood. Colo. "While there are a number of factors and criteria in judging the value of a company or industry, isn't profitability the 'real' value?"
Offshoring describes the relocation of business processes from one country to another. clearly plays at least an indirect role as CEOs report they've had to rely on overseas manufacturers to boost profit margins. "The huge payroll taxes Payroll Tax
Tax an employer withholds and/or pays on behalf of their employees based on the wage or salary of the employee. In most countries, including the U.S., both state and federal authorities collect some form of payroll tax. , higher insurance costs, government regulations and the cost of doing business only forces companies like ours to import components from offshore facilities," wrote Jerry Grunor, president of Dana Point. Calif.-based Global Communications, which works with 20 manufacturers in Taiwan, China and Hong Kong Hong Kong (hŏng kŏng), Mandarin Xianggang, special administrative region of China, formerly a British crown colony (2005 est. pop. 6,899,000), land area 422 sq mi (1,092 sq km), adjacent to Guangdong prov. .
CEOs also cited high energy prices as hurting their overall confidence. "Oil prices need to come down to support further growth in the economy," wrote Jim Moynihan, CEO of Heery International Heery International, Inc. is an architectural firm that was founded in 1952, and is currently headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia. Heery is a full service design, engineering, and construction management firm with over 1000 employees located in 30 offices across the United States and , a design, engineering and construction company in Atlanta.
While election uncertainty ranked last on the list of hiring-related factors, several CEOs cited concern over ballooning federal deficits, calling upon whomever whom·ev·er
The objective case of whoever. See Usage Note at who.
the objective form of whoever: wins the White House to address it. "If the government does not get its spending under control and continues to amass huge budget and trade deficits, we are headed for disaster." Stephenson wrote. "It's not a question of if--only when."
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