Nearly 30% of business leaders confirm that global economic growth will decline in the next year–a level of unconfidence six times that of last year, according to a PwC report released on Monday. The report surveyed more than 1,300 CEOs across the world to gain insight into executives’ confidence in the future global economy.

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These opinions about the economy are more polarized than ever before, the report found, and are heading downward. The biggest change was seen among CEOs in North America, where the optimism rate fell from 63% to 37% in 2018, most likely due to trade tensions and a falling fiscal stimulus, the report added.

“CEOs’ views of the global economy mirror the major economic outlooks, which are adjusting their forecasts downward in 2019,” Bob Moritz, global chairman of PwC, said in a Monday press release. “With the rise of trade tension and protectionism it stands to reason that confidence is waning.”

CEOs also cited policy uncertainty and protectionism as other major reasons behind their lack of confidence, in addition to trade conflicts, according to the report. Some 88% of CEOs said they are extremely concerned about trade conflicts, especially between China and the US. And nearly all (98%) of US CEOs have openly voiced these concerns, added the report.

Executives also confirmed issues with their own data capabilities, the report found. With artificial intelligence (AI) causing an influx of data in the enterprise, data analysis capabilities aren’t able to keep pace. CEOs cited a lack of analytical talent (54%), data siloing (51%), and poor data reliability (50%), as the major reasons for not being able to interpret comprehensive data. But with 85% of CEOs agreeing AI will transform business in the next five years, executives must find this necessary top talent.

“As technological changes continue to disrupt the business world, people with strong data and digital skills are in even higher demand and increasingly harder to find,” said Moritz in the release.

Check out this TechRepublic article for advice on how to improve your company’s data and analytics capabilities.

The big takeaways for tech leaders:

  • Nearly 30% of business leaders believe global economic growth will decline in the next year. — PwC, 2019
  • CEOs’ lack of confidence comes from trade conflicts, policy uncertainty, and protectionism. — PwC, 2019