business news in context, analysis with attitude

A Business Roundtable survey of more than 100 US CEOs concludes that "the breakneck pace of corporate hiring may slow in coming months, but the overall economy remains solid," Axios reports.

According to the story, "The view from the corporate suite is of an economy that can come off its inflationary hot boil — without the plunging sales and mass layoffs seen in recessions."

Axios writes that "the quarterly index of overall CEO expectations edged down … The executives' expectations for sales were unchanged from Q1, and their capital spending plans ticked up. That's not what you expect to see in a recession.

"However, fewer CEOs envision increasing their headcount — 33% now, compared to 41% last quarter."

"The bottom line," Axios writes, is that "after 18 months of nonstop recession chatter, a soft landing just may be in sight."

At the same time, the National Retail Federation (NRF) is saying that despite some conflicting signs, "the nation does not appear to be in a recession and should be headed toward a soft landing from the rampant inflation and high interest rates of the past two years."

NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz says that "today's economy is a lot like looking into a kaleidoscope, with the view changing and the data providing a different reflection of what’s happening every time you look.  Depending on which data you view in the economic kaleidoscope, you get two different angles on the state of the consumer. While survey data shows consumers do not have much confidence in the economy, actual spending data shows they were upbeat as the second quarter kicked off.

“Consumer spending has been bolstered by a strong job market and rising wages, which have helped counter rising prices and higher borrowing costs,” Kleinhenz said. “While it’s difficult to reconcile these views, what we’ve learned over the last several years is don't count the American consumer out, at least not yet.”

KC's View:

Mindset isn't everything, but it is a lot.  If people stop expecting a rough recession, that may help the economy move forward in a productive way.  But if people keep predicting it - whatever their reasons - then a recessionary mindset may continue to be a problem.