CEO outlook hits 11-year low

CEO outlook hits 11-year low
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The nation's top CEOs are as dour about the economic outlook as they have been in 11 years, according to the Business Roundtable's quarterly Economic Outlook Survey, released Monday.

The Index, based on a survey that asks top executives about their plans for hiring and investing over the coming six months, dropped to 34.3 in the second quarter of 2020, its lowest level since the second quarter of 2009.

The decline showed a 38.4-point drop from last quarter alone as the coronavirus and policies to contain it threw sand in the gears of the economy.

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But the Index was more optimistic than it was at the depth of the Great Recession in 2009, when it reached negative 5.

The executives by and large said their businesses would not recover until the end of next year, and more than a quarter said it would take longer.

Recent outbreaks in states such as Florida and Texas have added to the woes.

"Alarming reports of rapidly rising infection rates in some parts of the country, which will endanger both public health and the recovery, suggest the need for broader adoption of safety measures and for public officials to examine their reopening plans to ensure widespread use of masks, continued limitations on gathering size, and measures to keep vulnerable populations safe," the group wrote in a release.

The survey also found that big businesses are adapting to the realities of COVID-19 by adopting plans to introduce physical distancing measures, adding routine cleaning and disinfecting, promoting face coverings, and pushing sick employees to stay home.

They are also expanding work-from-home opportunities.