Study: Business executives more confident about the economy

Posted March 8, 2012 12:01 a.m. EST
Updated March 8, 2012 8:51 a.m. EST


— Business executives are more optimistic about the future of the U.S. economy, according to a survey by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants released Thursday.

The AICPA Economic Outlook Survey polled chief financial officers, controllers and other CPAs in executive and senior management roles about their thoughts involving the economy and their hiring plans in the next year. This is the second quarter where the survey found optimism on the rise. 

"Optimists now outnumber pessimists on the U.S. economy by an almost 2-to-1 margin, which is a striking change from six months ago," AICPA vice president for business, industry and government Carol Scott said in a press release. 

Business leaders were also looking to the future for their own companies. Fifty-five percent of those surveyed said they were optimistic or very optimistic about the outlook for their companies in the next year, the survey found. Last quarter, 45 percent indicated the same sentiments. 

"We still have a long way to go to feel really good about the economy, but all the arrows are pointing up," Teknor Apex Co. chief financial officer Jim Morrison said in a statement. 

Leaders are taking a cautious approach to hiring new staff in the coming year, with 14 percent saying they planned to add new employees immediately, the survey said. Fifty-seven percent of those surveyed felt their companies had enough workers. 

The technology industry is expected to see the largest boost in new jobs in the next year, according to the survey. Health care providers are projected to add the least. 

In addition to adding jobs, 61 percent of those surveyed said they expect to expand their businesses at least a little over the next year. 

The survey results come on the heels of a survey by Duke University and CFO Magazine that found that corporate chief executives planned to increase hiring by 2.1 percent this year.