The Covid-19 pandemic has brought about extremes. So many events have never happened before. I doubt The Conference Board has previously seen the collapse of confidence in the economy by CEOs. Here is their graphic showing this extreme event:
To appreciate this effort, you have to see the complexity of the underlying data. There is a CEO Confidence Measure. The measure has three components. Each component is scored on a scale probably from 0 to 100, with 5o as the middle. Then, the components are aggregated into an overall score. The measure is repeatedly estimated over time, and they did two surveys during the Pandemic, pre and post the lockdown in the U.S. And then, there's the rightmost column, which provides another reference point for one of the components of the measure.
One can easily get one's limbs tied up in knots trying to tame this beast.
Of course, the tiny square stands out. CEOs have a super pessimistic outlook for the next 6 months for overall economy. The number 3 on this scale probably means almost every respondent has a negative view.
The grid arrangement does not appear attractive but it is terrifically functional. The grid delivers horizontal and vertical comparisons. Moving vertically, we learn that even at the start of the year, the average sentiment was negative (9 points below 50), then it lost another 10 points, and finally imploded.
Moving horizontally, we can compare related metrics since everything is conveniently expressed in the same scale. While CEOs are depressed about the overall economy, they have slightly more faith about their own industry. And then moving left, we learn that many CEOs expect a V-shaped recovery, a really fast bounceback within 6 months.
As the Conference Board surveys this group again in the near future, I wonder if the optimism still holds.
The Conference Board has an entire set of graphics about the economic crisis of Covid-19 here. For some reason, they don't let me link to a specific chart so I can't directly link to the chart.