A new survey of CFO attitudes across seven industries finds that health care CFOs are more positive about the state of their industry than CFOs in most other fields.
For its Bi-Annual U.S. Mid-Market CFO Survey, GE Capital in the third quarter (Q3) of 2012 asked 500 CFOs to share their views on the U.S. economy and their outlook on a variety of important economic, industry and business-level issues. Survey respondents worked for middle-market companies in one of the following seven industries:
- Food, beverage, and agribusiness;
- General manufacturing;
- Health care;
- Metals, mining, and metal fabrication;
- Technology and business services; and
Respondents measured their sentiments about their respective fields on a scale of one to 10, where one indicates an extremely weak sentiment and 10 indicates an extremely strong sentiment.
On average, CFOs gave their industries 5.8 out of 10, down from 5.9 in Q1 of 2012. Of all the CFOs, those working in the food and beverage industry expressed the most favorable views about the state of their industry, giving it 6.2 out of 10 in Q3.
Health care CFOs’ outlook on the strength of the U.S. health care industry grew from 5.2 out of 10 in Q1 to 5.8 out of 10 in Q3. Factors that likely contributed to the increased optimism among health care CFOs include:
- Their beliefs that he U.S. economy is stabilizing;
- Increased expectations for industry growth over the next year;
- Expectations that profits will remain steady or increase; and
- Continued stability in the health care job sector.
Meanwhile, the survey also found that health care costs are among top threats to business performance in 2013 across all seven fields (Parmar, MedCity News, 10/29; GE Capital survey, Fall 2012).