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CFO survey: Increased economic optimism

In a biannual survey of Southeastern U.S. Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) and senior comptrollers conducted by Grant Thornton LLP (, , there is growing optimism about the U.S. economy as 61% say it will improve over the next six months (up from 31% six months earlier). However, the survey results also indicate that inflation may be in the offing, with 54% of respondents saying their company intends to raise prices for its goods, up from 31% six months earlier and 33% one year ago.

Nearly half (47%) of Southeastern CFOs reported that they were concerned about the price of energy, up from 17% six months ago, and 43% said they were concerned about the price of raw materials (food, metals, etc.), up from just 27% six months ago.

While hiring is still tepid, 38% of Southeastern CFOs intend to increase head count (up slightly from 36% six months earlier), and 67% are optimistic about their own company’s financial prospects over the next six months (up from 48%).

Regarding the Japan disaster, 92% say it will impact the U.S. economy and the majority believes that Japan will not fully recover for at least one year.

Grant Thornton LLP conducted the biannual national survey from March 22 through April 6, 2011, with 318 U.S. CFOs and senior comptrollers participating, of which 49 were from the Southeast Region — Alabama, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia.

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