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2023 Outlook: 4 Charts to Watch

CFOs should be aware of these data points on employment trends, CPI, and productivity going into 2023.

CFOs are number-centric, data-driven thinkers. Through our Wednesday newsletters, we have brought you extensive content surrounding data, statistics, and the corresponding trends emerging from that data. Below are four charts that provide outlook data we at CFO believe financial leaders should be cognizant of in the new year.  

1. Employment Trends 

Jobs gained and lost are pivotal stat to watch, as survivability and labor are two major concerns going into 2023 for many companies — especially small businesses and startups. As venture capital dries up, access to capital dwindles, and interest rates rise, awareness of the labor impact surrounding these types of companies are extremely valuable.

With labor markets still struggling to meet the demands of open positions throughout businesses right now, companies who are still desperate for quality labor may also be faced with having to lay off the few workers they already have, should the economy continue to struggle.

2. Consumer Price Index

Inflation’s impact, and the hawkishness of the Fed to stave off recession, make the consumer price index (CPI) a must-watch chart in 2023. 

With the Fed determined to bring inflation down to 2%, rate hikes are resulting in incrementally expensive costs of financing. Although inflation’s impact on the pricing of goods and services may drop slightly, industries that are dependent on financing (e.g. vehicles, real estate, construction) will be seriously impacted by raising rates in an effort to cool inflation.

3. Productivity 

With many different ways executives are gauging productivity, leaders should be aware of the general productivity and cost rates in their respective industries. By examining quarter-over-quarter data, executives have a real-time look into how productivity levels are evolving.

Despite some teams having turned to strategies like “co-sourcing” as a way to further their productivity in 2022, these types of things can cause more work down the line than their worth — furthering the notion of necessity in changes for how (and in what environment) work is being done. 

4. Employer Costs for Employee Compensation

Employer costs per hour worked is a substantial stat to track for CFOs of large companies. As salary transparency, increasing minimum wage standards, unionizations, and demands for benefit offerings for lower wage employees continues to spread throughout the western economy, a forward-thinking executive should be aware of the cost per employee on average in their respective industry. 

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