What executives think about the economy

This continually updated interactive tracks how executives around the world have viewed economic conditions and the economic prospects of their companies, and how those views have differed over time and across industries, regions, and types of company.

Every quarter since early 2004, McKinsey has asked executives from around the world about their expectations for the global economy, national economies, and their own organizations. Since September 2008, as these topics have grown in urgency, we have added additional questions, including some on customer demand and company profits.

This interactive feature will allow you to explore how different regions, industries, and types of companies have been affected by recent changes in economic conditions, and what executives expect to see in the future.

A McKinsey Global Institute discussion paper, The productivity puzzle: A closer look at the United States (PDF–449KB), undertakes a microanalysis and identifies six characteristics of the productivity-growth slowdown. These characteristics are low value-added growth during the recovery after the financial crisis; a shift in the composition of employment in the economy toward lower-productivity sectors; a lack of productivity-accelerating sectors after the financial crisis; weak capital-intensity growth; uneven rates of digitization across sectors, where the least digitized often are the largest sectors, with relatively low productivity; and diverging firm-level productivity, with slowing business dynamism.

A closer look at just one of these characteristics, the lack of productivity-accelerating sectors, is revealing (exhibit). The productivity performance of businesses and sectors does not slow down or speed up in unison. Rather, shifts in aggregate productivity growth are the result of individual sectors accelerating and decelerating at different times. The productivity boom of 1995 to 2000 was characterized by an exceptional combination of sectors experiencing a productivity acceleration. Sectors with large employment, such as retail and wholesale, experienced accelerating productivity at the same time as rapid productivity growth was occurring in sectors such as computer and electronic products. Together, these drove the productivity boom.