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Survey: CEOs’ economic outlook drops for seventh straight quarter

A survey of CEOs released Wednesday found their economic outlook falling for the seventh quarter in a row.

The Business Roundtable’s quarterly survey of CEOs found a modest decline in expected growth linked to worries over trade, as well as a broader slowdown in the global economy and a contracting manufacturing sector at home.

The CEOs projected growth at 2.1 percent for 2020, significantly below the 3 percent target set by the Trump administration, but somewhat higher than other economic forecasts.

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The survey results, which are bundled into an index, found a 2.5-point drop in the fourth quarter, bring the index to 76.7, below the historical average of 82.7.

Expectations for sales were up 7 points, but remained below average. On the flip side, the hiring index dropped 5.5 points, but remained above the historical average.

One alarming finding in the survey was an 8.9-point drop in the index measuring plans for capital investment, dropping it further below the historical average.

One central goal of the GOP’s 2017 tax cut package was to boost capital investment.

The survey comes at a time when consumer sentiment is high, the stock market is up and unemployment remains low. Economic growth has moderated, but economists do not expect it to dip into contraction or recession in the coming year.

Strong economic conditions are expected to bolster President Trump as he seeks reelection next year. 

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