Although most of the CEOs recently surveyed by Marcum LLP-Hofstra University have an optimistic view of the current business landscape, healthcare executives were the exception.

The most optimism came from the construction industry (33% versus 23% in the previous survey in April), professional services (25% versus 36%) and technology (43% versus 57%) executives. In healthcare, however, CEO optimism decreased to 29% from 38% in the previous survey.

“Our latest CEO survey shows that optimism is on the rise, but it’s clear that these leaders are keenly aware of the challenges ahead,” Marcum’s Chairman and CEO Jeffrey Weiner said in a statement. “From managing economic uncertainties and grappling with talent shortages to mitigating the impact of rising operational costs, CEOs will need adaptability and grit in this fluid business landscape.”

A common theme across all industries is a commitment to environmental, social and governance goals in corporate planning: 42.4% of the respondents said they felt ESG was very important.

“The embrace of … ESG is, quite literally, a generational change, driven by young people who make decisions about what they buy and where they work based on a company’s ethical impact,” Janet Lenaghan, dean of the Frank G. Zarb School of Business, said.

The current economic climate also is a prime concern for CEOs across the board. Approximately 74% of respondents indicated that they are at least somewhat

concerned that the economy will experience a recession later this year.

As the McKnight’s Business Daily previously reported, some economists are concerned that the Federal Reserve’s rapid interest rate increases over the past 15 months or so might have the United States headed for recession.

The latest data show a substantial drop in the number of CEOs who say they are “very concerned” about recession, from 46.5% in November 2022 to 26.4% now; however, 61.6% of the respondents said that economic worries are affecting their staffing plans: 17.6% have cut back in hiring new workers, and 9.6% have laid off staff members. 

The amount of CEOs expressing no recession concern increased from 6.3% in the previous survey to 15.6%.