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Data


CFO Optimism

The hallmark of The CFO Survey is its optimism index—a measure of business sentiment that reflects firms’ optimism, on a scale of 0 to 100, for their own financial prospects and for the prospects of the U.S. economy. The index for firms’ optimism about the U.S. economy was 59.8 in the second quarter, while the index for own-firm optimism was 69.8.
Note: The dashed vertical line denotes a moderate change in the question wording and presentation. Please see The CFO Survey Methodology for further information.
  • CFOs' Most Pressing Concerns

    The CFO Survey tracks the top concerns of financial decision makers in order to provide insight into the challenges facing companies across the country. The most common concern expressed by far in the June 2020 survey was sales/revenue and customer demand.

    Note: Data reflect results from the June 2020 survey. Percentages do not sum to 100 because only the top ten topics are shown. Please refer to The CFO Survey Methodology for more information.
  • CFOs’ Expectations for Their Firms’ Performance

    The CFO Survey asks financial decision makers about the changes they expect for their firms over the year ahead, including their revenue, prices, operating income, employment, wages, and non-wage compensation. Financial leaders responding to the June 2020 survey broadly expected revenue, operating income, employment, and wage compensation to pick up in 2021 after declining in 2020. Growth in prices and non-wage compensation were also expected to pick up in 2021.

    Note: Data reflect results for 265 to 286 U.S. firms responding to the June 2020 survey. Revenue, Operating Income, and Prices are weighted by sales revenue. Employment, Wage Bill, and Non-wage Compensation are weighted by employment. These data are also winsorized at 2.5% and 97.5% to remove the potential influence of extreme values. The 2020 employment expectations are calculated using respondents’ employment levels from before the start of the pandemic in early March. All other variables, including 2021 employment growth are full calendar year expectations. Please refer to The CFO Survey Methodology for more information.
  • CFOs’ Expectations for the Aggregate Economy

    The CFO Survey asks financial decision makers about their expectations for real GDP growth over the next four quarters and, periodically, for their stock market expectations for the year-ahead. The median expectation for year-ahead GDP growth, among all survey respondents in June 2020, was 0.9 percent.

    Weighted Mean0.6%
    Weighted Median0.9%
    Probability of Negative Growth
    (mean share of probability on bins below zero)
    39.9%
    Note: Data in the chart and table reflect results for 260 U.S. firms responding to the June 2020 survey. Responses are weighted by sales revenue. Probabilistic expectations that do not sum to 100 percent are excluded. Firms are first asked to gauge their familiarity with real Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Those who indicate they are unfamiliar with the concept are not presented with this question. Please refer to The CFO Survey Methodology for more information.
  • Semi-Annual Questions on Credit and Capital Expenditures

    In recognition that some decisions that firms make—including making outlays for capital investment and choosing to engage with credit markets—are more discrete and periodic, The CFO Survey poses these questions on a semi-annual basis.

    Access and Availability of Credit

    Note: Data reflect results for 291 U.S. firms responding to the June 2020 survey.
    Note: Data reflect results for 136 U.S. firms indicating they had applied for credit in the last 6 months in the June 2020 survey.
    Note: Data reflect results for 136 U.S. firms indicating they had applied for credit in the last 6 months in the June 2020 survey. Percentages do not sum to 100 because respondents could report more than one lender.
    Overall, do you feel obtaining credit for this business has become more difficult, less difficult, or has remained the same over the last 6 months?

    Percent of Firms
    More Difficult (and reason)32.4%
    Change in Creditworthiness of Business8.8%
    Change in Lending Standards14.7%
    Other8.8%
    Same56.6%
    Less Difficult (and reason)11.0%
    Change in Creditworthiness of Business1.5%
    Change in Lending Standards4.4%
    Other5.1%
    Note: Data reflect results for 136 U.S. firms indicating they had applied for credit in the last 6 months in the June 2020 survey.
  • Current Special Questions

    The CFO Survey will typically include, at the end of the questionnaire, questions exploring topics of current relevance to policymakers or for use in academic research.

    Effects of COVID-19

    Note: Data reflect results for 244 to 265 U.S. firms responding to the June 2020 survey. Responses are weighted by employment (truncated at 85th percentile) and winsorized at 2.5% and 97.5%.
    Note: Data reflect results for 263 to 266 U.S. firms responding to the June 2020 survey. Responses are weighted by employment (truncated at 85th percentile) and winsorized at 2.5% and 97.5%.
    Note: Data reflect results for 83 U.S. firms responding to the June 2020 survey. Firms received this question if they indicated they reduced their number of domestic, full-time employees since early March 2020. Percentages do not sum to 100 because respondents could select up to three options.
    Note: Data reflect results for 75 U.S. firms responding to the June 2020 survey. Firms received this question if they selected Government as the lender for a loan request.
    What share of the PPP loan amount received do you expect will be forgiven?
    Mean94.6%
    Median100%
    25th Percentile99.0%
    75th Percentile100%
    Note: Data reflect results for 68 U.S. firms responding to the June 2020 survey. Firms received this question if they selected Government as the lender for a loan request and received PPP funds.
    By roughly what percentage do you anticipate the COVID-19 pandemic will change your calendar year 2020 revenue?
    Weighted Mean-13.8%
    Weighted Median-10.0%
    25th Percentile-20.0%
    75th Percentile-5.0%
    Note: Data reflect results for 250 U.S. firms responding to the June 2020 survey. Responses are weighted by sales revenue and winsorized at 2.5% and 97.5%.
  • Historical Data and Information

    Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business and CFO magazine previously conducted the Global Business Outlook by surveying CFOs of companies and subscribers of CFO magazine around the world each quarter. An archive of past surveys is available at cfosurvey.fuqua.duke.edu.

    View Past Survey Reports

    Download Current and Historical Data

     

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