Most American CEOs see their firms recovering by end 2021 — survey

Agence France-Presse
US health
An aerial photo taken with a drone shows a group of white tents, constructed in a parking lot at the United Center, home to the Chicago Bulls and Blackhawks, serving as a mass COVID-19 vaccination center on March 10, 2021 in Chicago, Illinois. The site, which opened at full capacity today, expects to vaccinate 6,000 residents-per-day.
Scott Olson / Getty Images / AFP

NEW YORK, United States — US chief executives are more optimistic about rising sales and overwhelmingly expect a recovery from the Covid-19 downturn by the end of 2021, according to a survey released Wednesday.

The Business Roundtable reported jumps in expectations for the next six months in all three categories: expected sales, capital spending and hiring.

And 72 percent of CEOs said conditions have already recovered or will have recovered by the end of 2021. That is an increase from 67 percent in the prior quarter.

The survey is the latest to point to broadening optimism about the economic recovery, and comes as the House of Representatives is set to approve a $1.9 trillion fiscal spending package and send the measure to President Joe Biden for final signature.

"These survey results suggest that the economy is recovering, which is encouraging news, as there are many American workers, families and communities who are still hurting," said Walmart Chief Executive Doug McMillon, who is chairman of the organization.

For the United States to fully recover, "it's important that as many people as possible get vaccinated when eligible and continue safety practices," he added.

Biden's spending bill includes up to $1,400 stimulus checks to most Americans, extensions to unemployment aid and a child tax credit for low-income households, among other provisions. 

Republicans in Congress have uniformly opposed the bill, arguing it is untargeted, too costly and reflective of a "socialist agenda."

Joshua Bolten, chief executive of the Business Roundtable, offered measured praise for Biden's stimulus package. 

"We've been strongly supportive of a substantial part of what's in the bill," he said, but added that he has been "skeptical" of provisions not tied directly to the coronavirus crisis.

Bolten reiterated his preference for bipartisan legislation and said he hopes an upcoming debate on infrastructure spending can be crafted with input from both major parties.

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