Survey: Economic Pessimism Creeps Back In

After a brief glint of optimism, business executives’ view of the U.S. economy is once again trending toward gloom.

Only 14% of respondents in the latest AICPA Economic Outlook Survey expressed optimism about the U.S. economy’s prospects over the next 12 months, down from 23% in the previous quarter. Further, those expressing pessimism in the second-quarter edition of the poll, which surveyed 433 CPAs who hold leadership positions during the period of May 2-24, increased from 44% to 56%, quarter over quarter.

In light of this outlook, while 43% of respondents said their company had too few employees – essentially the same as last quarter – 17% said they were hesitant to hire because of economic uncertainty, up 6% from last quarter.

“Hiring demand is still strong but we’re starting to see companies holding back on filling positions, essentially taking a wait-and-see attitude until economic conditions become clearer,” says Tom Hood, executive vice president for business engagement and growth for AICPA and CIMA.

Inflation remained the No. 1 concern among survey participants, followed by domestic economic conditions, which jumped three slots from the previous quarter. Employee and benefit costs remained at No. 3, while liquidity concerns jumped into the top 10.

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