Tuesday, September 28, 2010

CEOs Batten Down The Hatches

Take it from captains of industry (at least the ones who didn't have the top job handed to them by their parents).  CEOs are pulling out their worry beads:

U.S. chief executive officers' view of the economy darkened in the third quarter, with top executives saying they were less willing to hire new workers as they fear sales growth will slow.

The data is from the Business Roundtable, which can sometimes sound like an echo chamber where CEOs magnify the concerns they share only among themselves.  That caveat makes their reports seem like overreactions but the general lessons they tease out are still useful.  These big shots aren't willing to throw away cash on new workers that they'll need to pay their bills as conditions worsen. 

People at the opposite end of the compensation ladder from CEOs are showing similar nascent signs of despair.  Consumer confidence is slipping back into doldrum land:

The Conference Board, based in New York, said its monthly Consumer Confidence Index now stands at 48.5, down from the revised 53.2 in August. Economists surveyed by Thomson Reuters were expecting 52.5.

Those numbers also show once again that consensus forecasts from economic experts aren't worth the hot air expended in their generation. 

Forget the recovery!  It's not here!  Go look for it in Versailles-on-the-Potomac instead where federal government salaries now exceed private sector salaries