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The 2019 Fortune 500 CEO Survey Results Are In

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The CEOs of the Fortune 500 are feeling increasingly cautious. A growing number fear the global economy will worsen in the next year, and close to half are preparing for a recession within the next two years. Despite those worrying signs, they still plan to increase employee headcount and invest in A.I. They also think America is the best place to invest your money. The poll was administered by email between May 1 and May 10, and the response rate was 18%.

WHERE THE GLOBAL ECONOMY IS HEADED

Last year, the CEOs of the Fortune 500 were ebullient about global prospects, with 40% of CEOs believing the global economy would improve. Now just 17% have such high hopes for the next 12 months. But our CEOs are not doomsayers. Most expect things to stay relatively stable in the next year.

POLITICS AND REGULATION

President Trump’s tough stance on China has gotten more popular in the past year. In 2018, a little over half of CEOs approved of the President’s trade spat with Beijing. Now four-fifths approve of the posture. Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve seems to have hit the right balance on interest rates.

VERY BIG CHALLENGES

The CEOs were asked to rank the issues below on how big a challenge they pose to their business. The percentages represent the share that identified each as “very big.”

A.I. TO THE RESCUE

Artificial intelligence isn’t the future; it’s the now. Already more than half of Fortune 500 CEOs say their company is using these technologies to improve efficiency.

A version of this article appears in the June 2019 issue of Fortune with the headline “2019 CEO Survey: The Results Are In.”

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