Business leaders are more optimistic on the global economy

Deloitte poll reveals a rise in sentiment among global chief executives

Business leaders are more optimistic on the global economy
Steve Randall

Spring has arrived and it’s not just nature that is focused on growth.

Chief executives from large companies globally and across multiple industries are showing improved optimism for growth since the fall of 2022.

The Fortune/Deloitte CEO Survey includes leaders from Fortune 500 and Global 500 companies and found that 45% of respondents are expecting strong or very strong growth (compared to 34% in October 2022), while pessimism toward the global economy has declined to 37% (from 76%).

However, these figures are weaker than they were in the summer of 2022.

"CEO optimism has clearly dimmed since this time last year, but the CEOs are still not in anything like a recessionary mindset,” said Alan Murray, Fortune CEO. “They see inflation and labour shortages—both problems resulting from excess demand—as their biggest threats. And they feel the mandate to invest in transformation as strongly as ever."

Top threats

Inflation and geopolitical stability remain top concerns along with recruiting and retaining talent.

While CEOs predict that inflation will decrease by mid-year they think  an improved inflation rate may come at the cost of an increase in the federal funds interest rate.

"After what many CEOs agree was another year of disruption and complex challenges, it's incredibly promising to see increasing optimism among CEOs for the year ahead and expectations that their organizations will continue to grow,” said Jason Girzadas, CEO Elect, Deloitte US. “While inflation and an uncertain economy are certainly on the minds of CEOs, they appear undeterred from prioritizing investments in key areas like core business transformation, talent, and market innovation that may help drive long-term growth."

AI investment

The survey also shows that CEOs of large firms continue to focus on the potential of artificial intelligence (AI).

Most view AI as a platform for advanced predictive analytics (85%), sophisticated data analysis (80%), and recommendation engines (52%).

Only 39% of CEOs said they currently view AI as a platform for generative AI, and just 27% see it as a platform for autonomous decision making.