Most Americans Don’t Believe CEOs, Survey Shows

UTICA, N.Y.—Most Americans, 75 percent, don’t believe CEO and CFO’s statements about the outlook of the financial position of their companies are credible because they are reluctant to detail the real problems facing their companies in the current economic environment, according to a Zogby 463 Interactive survey. Just 15 percent believe CEO and CFO statements are the best source of information about a company’s financial outlook.

The survey also finds that Americans have largely given up on manufacturing and traditional industries as the focus of the U.S. economy, and instead believe technology and the service sector is where the nation should target its efforts. Half of Americans favor a focus on high-tech and service-sector jobs moving forward, while just 28 percent believe America should stick with more traditional jobs in manufacturing and other long-standing industries.
The survey of 3,030 adults nationwide was conducted May 29-June 1, 2009, and carries a margin of error of +/-1.8 percent. The survey also found:

• More than one in three Americans (36 percent) believe the U.S. will experience a year-long recession, but that markets are stabilizing. Others view American’s economic downturn as much more serious; with 29 percent who believe this is our worse economy in 20 years and likely to get worse and another 18 percent who believe this is the beginning of the worse economy since the Great Depression.

• The healthcare and technology industries are viewed as best able to weather the current economic downturn, but few have faith in the retail and automobile industries to do the same.

• More than three in four Americans (78 percent) believe that given the current economic uncertainty, focusing on the U.S. market for sales and job creation makes the most sense – just 12 percent believe the focus should be on new sales and job creation overseas.

• Most believe the top two steps publicly traded companies should take in light of economic uncertainty are prioritizing spending (60 percent) and imposing reductions in discretionary spending such as travel, marketing and office improvements (54 percent).

• A focus on long-term viability (38 percent) and a strong cash position with little debt (27 percent) are the most likely factors to prompt interest from Americans in a publicly traded company right now.

• More than half of U.S. adults (53 percent) believe making CEO and top executives available for the media is a good or excellent way for publicly traded companies to communicate with shareholders and the public. Fifty-four percent said the same about companies that communicate frequently throughout the quarter.

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