CEO survey finds slight drop in optimism

April 15, 2019

The most recent quarterly SiouxFalls.Business CEO survey done in partnership with the Augustana Research Institute found CEOs the least enthusiastic about their businesses since the survey began two years ago.

That continues a slow but steady decline in optimism reported late last year.

The most recent survey was conducted in mid-March.

Nineteen percent of the Sioux Falls CEOs who responded said overall conditions at their business were excellent, down from 21 percent in December. That’s the least amount of CEOs who responded with “excellent” since the survey began.

Seventy-three percent of CEOs said conditions in their business were good, while 9 percent rated them fair.

“Overall, respondents remain quite optimistic about local business conditions, but pessimistic sentiments are on the increase, especially regarding the national economy,” said Robert Wright, the Nef Family Chair of Political Economy at Augustana University.

Nine percent of Sioux Falls CEOs said the U.S. business climate is excellent, two-thirds called it good and 24 percent rated it fair. That’s a little less enthusiastic than at the end of 2018, when 13 percent said the national economy was excellent.

“The lingering effect of the government shutdown and regional flooding are partly to blame, along with mixed reports regarding several key economic indicators, including the Treasury yield curve, the recent inversion of which portends an increased risk of recession by year’s end,” Wright said.

“Immigration and trade policy uncertainties continue, and reform of health care, higher education and other important under-performing sectors remain on the horizon at best.”

Sioux Falls CEOs rated the local economy far better, with almost four in 10 saying it’s excellent and the rest saying it’s good. That’s also a little softer than three months ago, though.

Most also project solid activity at their businesses in the next three months, with 42 percent saying they expect above-average business activity and 58 percent expecting average activity.

They also plan to continue investing in their businesses, with 82 percent planning average or above-average capital expenditures and 85 percent projecting average or above-average hiring.

“Planned capital expenditures by respondents remain robust,” Wright said. “Unemployment will also remain low locally as a third of all respondents forecast above-average hiring activity in the second quarter and only a couple expect to hire fewer workers than usual.”

CEO survey finds slight drop in optimism

The most recent quarterly SiouxFalls.Business CEO survey done in partnership with the Augustana Research Institute found CEOs the least enthusiastic about their businesses since the survey began two years ago.

News Tip

Have a business news item to share with us?

Scroll to top