97% of execs say we're in a recession or headed toward one, Stifel survey finds

The overwhelming majority of corporate executives are bracing for a recession, according to a new survey.

Nearly all 70 business leaders surveyed by Stifel Financial believe the U.S. economy is either already in a recession (18%) or will face one within the next 18 months (79%). Only 3% think one will be avoided entirely.

"We've been hearing it consistently," said Michael Kollender, head of consumer, retail, and diversified industrials investment banking at Stifel.

"They believe that we are either in a recession or heading to one very shortly," Kollender told Yahoo Finance Live.

The study also found inflation and the tight labor market represent the two biggest perceived threats to running a business today.

"CEOs are struggling to find significant enough levels of labor at attractive enough pricing," said Kollender. "Not far behind labor is inflation, recession, and supply chain issues."

The survey found 53% of respondents believe that inflation will be an issue for the next two quarters to a year, with another 43% expecting high prices to continue for even longer.

The latest Consumer Price Index (CPI) showed a moderate slowdown in inflation, reflecting a drop in energy prices. Prices in July rose 8.5% year-over-year, down from 9.1% in the prior month's reading. Compared to the prior month, consumer prices were unchanged in July.

The survey focused specifically on corporate executives, business owners and private equity investors in the consumer, retail, and diversified industrials sectors.

Ines is a markets reporter covering equities. Follow her on Twitter at @ines_ferre

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