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Eighty-four percent of CEOs experience a negative impact on their business due to inflation. In addition to the current inflation impact, 55% expect inflation to continue to rise above current levels over the next six months. This is the latest from the quarterly CEO Economic Outlook Survey conducted by the University of Richmond Robins School of Business and the Virginia Council of CEOs.

“The survey results suggest that CEOs have felt a significant negative impact from inflationary pressures and as a result are less optimistic overall for the next six months,” said Rich Boulger, associate dean at the Robins School, which administers survey and collect responses.

“It’s no surprise that inflation hurts small businesses,” said Scot McRoberts, executive director of VACEOs. “The entrepreneurs I work with continue to adapt to difficult conditions, but I have seen their optimism fade in recent months.”

Fifty-nine percent of CEOs expect an increase in sales, with 28% expecting an increase of at least 10%, while 52% predict an increase in employment over the next six months.

The survey found that expectations over the next six months for sales and employment were both positive, although expectations were down from the end of the first quarter of 2022.

More than half (59%) of CEOs said they expect sales to increase over the next six months.

  • 6% expected sales to be “significantly higher”.
  • 53% expected sales to be “higher”.
  • 13% expected sales to be “lower”.
  • 28% said they expected no change.

Thirty-one percent of CEOs expect capital spending to increase over the next six months (same as last quarter), while 25% expect capital spending to decline. More than 43% expect capital spending to remain stable.

Fifty-two percent of CEOs surveyed expect employment to increase over the next six months. Additionally, 38% expect employment to remain stable while only 11% expect employment to decline.

Taken as a whole, the results for sales, capital expenditure and employment are less positive than in the first quarter of 2022, with the overall economic outlook index declining (81.3 from 98.1) compared to the results for the end of the first quarter of 2022.

In addition, CEOs were again asked whether the war in Ukraine and other global events had caused supply chain disruptions, which negatively impacted their business. They reported the following impact on their business:

  • No impact: 33%
  • Minor negative impact: 43%
  • A significant negative impact: 24%

For more information on the CEO Economic Outlook Survey and a specific breakdown of the data, click here.

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