Is your CEO leaving or staying put?

For those of you keeping track, the CEO turnover rate is declining — a sure sign the nation’s top execs expect good things in 2011.

In November, 79 chief executives across the country resigned, retired or stepped aside for other reasons, the second straight month CEO departures declined and 16 percent fewer announced departures than November last year, according to a report by global outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

The declining CEO departure rate is an interesting statistic that could mean any number of things, but to me it says the economic recovery is gaining momentum.

When the outlook is bad, CEOs get the blame and jump ship or are forced out. When the outlook is good CEOs get the credit and hang around a little longer.

The Challenger, Gray report offers lots of interesting tidbits, including a breakdown of CEO departures by industry and the reasons the execs are leaving.

Through November this year, government and non-profit organizations saw the most leadership changes with 189 CEO departures. Health care was next with 146.

As for reasons cited by departing CEOs, 355 resigned and 279 retired. Scandal was listed 9 times and economic conditions was cited in 16 cases.

Read the full Challenger, Gray report here.