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Global Business Outlook Survey: Cautious Optimism for CFOs

Global Business Outlook Survey: Cautious Optimism for CFOs

The recent Global Business Outlook Survey conducted by Duke University and CFO Magazine found that while outlook among most U.S. CFOs improved during the most recent quarter, these finance chiefs are still somewhat wary of a double-dip recession.

The survey, which elicited responses from 1,050 finance chiefs from various public and private companies, found U.S. CFOs planned to boost their workforces by an average of 1.5 percent over the next 12 months, which could drop the unemployment rate by a full percentage point, according to a release from Duke.

In terms of the country's overall economic picture, the finance chiefs ranked their optimism at 53 on a scale of zero to 100 for this quarter, which is higher than the recession low of 40 in March 2009 but lower than the long-run average of 60, the survey said.

"It's encouraging to see this rebound in optimism because increases in CFO optimism have historically preceded improvements in the overall economy, Kate O'Sullivan, deputy director at CFO Magazine, said in a statement. "Still, the level of optimism is low by historic measures, suggesting that economic growth will remain relatively slow."

The survey improved over that of the third quarter, when 65 percent of finance chiefs reported they had grown more pessimistic during the quarter, according to a release.