CEOs' economic optimism hits highest level since 2009

"As these results confirm, business confidence and optimism have increased dramatically", he said.

The latest Business Roundtable CEO Economic Index - an aggregation of CEO projections for sales and plans for capital investment and hiring for the upcoming six months - saw the largest growth since the fourth quarter of 2009.

The Business Roundtable's measure of the sales outlook for the next six months climbed 21 points to a five-year high of 123.8 in the first quarter.

It was the biggest increase since the third quarter of 2009 and the highest level in almost three years.

Trump's plan to reduce corporate taxes already has faced hurdles, with many senators opposing a border adjustment tax on imports, for example.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said in a report Monday the Republican healthcare replacement plan endorsed by President Donald Trump would result in some 24 million people losing health insurance by 2026.

But the President has taken steps to roll back financial and other regulations, and that's largely stoking the executives' confidence in the administration's early days.

"While it's never easy to do tax reform, we think this really is a once-in-a-generation opportunity".

"The Trump administration, the congressional leadership are promoting an agenda that our CEOs see as very positive", he said.

"Basically [the rule] made it harder to clean up the environment in those areas because they can't generate the growth and the revenue that you need to take strong environmental action", Bolten said. "This country is not built a new airport in 30 years", he said.

An bad lot has been done and it makes sense "to look at them [all regulations] in the clear light of day", said Dimon during his first public press call as Chairman of the Business Roundtable, whose members oversee $6 trillion in annual revenues and 15 million employees. "The Fed is raising rates into a stronger environment, the stronger environment is far more important than rates going up 25 basis points".

The Federal Reserve is widely expected to hike interest rates at the end of its two-day meeting on Wednesday, the first of potentially three moves this year. "ORCRP010217-topic.html" class="local_link" >JPMorgan Chase & Co. and this year's chairman of the Business Roundtable.

"The sustainability (of the postelection surge in optimism) and whether it will lead to actual economic growth depends on Washington's ability to deliver on the agenda that small businesses voted for in November", says NFIB CEO Juanita Duggan. The index is now above its historical average of 79.8 for the first time in seven quarters.

  • Arturo Norris