This post by Jill Schlesinger originally appeared on CBS' MoneyWatch.com.
Yesterday I noted that the September reading of the Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index was lower than expected. Today we learn who is actually feeling good–the chief financial officers of US companies! I read about this with great interest in today's FT (subscription required).
In a poll of 262 chief financial officers conducted by Financial Executives International, a corporate finance lobby group, and Baruch College, optimism among respondents came is at 54.2 on a scale of 0-100. While the mid-50's shouldn't blow us away, it was the highest reading since March, 2008, the month of Bear Stearns' failure.
Why are the CFO's feeling better than average Americans? Chances are, these guys ripped through their organizations with hatchets, lopping off every head possible to stave off disaster. Those job losses, combined with massive cuts to every other line item in the budget, helped many firms survive the downturn.
Unfortunately, while consumers are desperately trying to pay off debt and reduce expenses, many have little room to make substantial cuts that significantly improve their lives. Those that have jobs and ample income may feel a bit more upbeat about the economic recovery, but your level of confidence depends on where YOU are, not where the economy is.