CFOs give economy mixed reviews


Jun 04, 2010

In a national survey of U.S. CFOs and senior comptrollers conducted by Grant Thornton LLP, the U.S. member firm of Grant Thornton International Ltd, only 29% plan to increase hiring in the next six months, while 22% plan to decrease. Hiring is weaker amongst Fortune 500 firms (firms with revenues of $5 billion and higher), as 31% plan a decrease in hiring over the next six months, while only 23% plan an increase.

A total of 496 CFOs a companies ranging from $5-billion giants to smaller than $100-million smaller fry completed the survey. Of them 92 work for manufacturing companies.

Their responses were a bit more mixed. Ninety-three percent of them said they thought the U.S. economy would either improve or remain the same during the next six months. (The number was equally split between those two options.)  Nearly 60% said they expected their companies' financial prospects to improve during that period, and another 36% expected them to stay the same. Less than 5% thought they would worsen.

Fifty-five percent of manufacturing CFOs say they are less worried about their organizations than last year, and another 37.5% say their concern level is about the same as last year. Only 6.8% are more worried.

At the same time, half of those manufacturers expected their head counts to remain the same. Another 25% expected to decrease head count. Only 25% say they plan to hire during the next six months.

Only 26% think the recession will end during the second half of this year. Fifty percent are betting on 2011, but nearly 18.5% think it will be later than 2011.