Companies in the U.S. are poised to increase payrolls next year as revenue picks up, a sign the labor market is improving, an annual survey of chief financial officers showed today.
The share of executives who said they plan to hire new workers in 2011 rose to 47 percent, compared with 28 percent who forecast they would add jobs this year, according to a Bank of America Merrill Lynch survey released today. Sixty-four percent said they expect revenue growth, up from 61 percent in last year’s survey.
Businesses in the U.S. need to add more jobs to bring down an unemployment rate that rose to 9.8 percent in November, the highest since April, and alleviate concerns among Federal Reserve policy makers that growth in the world’s largest economy will remain sluggish.
“Despite the challenging economic climate, many CFOs have growing confidence that their companies have weathered the worst of the storm and are poised for expansion,” Laura Whitley, Charlotte, North Carolina-based Bank of America Corp.’s global commercial products executive, said in a release. “Although concerns about the economy remain, the increase in CFOs who expect to hire employees could be crucial to improving the nation’s unemployment rate.”
The number of executives projecting layoffs next year fell to 6 percent from 9 percent in the previous survey, the results showed. The finance heads rated the economy 47 out of 100, up from 44 in last year’s survey, which was the lowest in its 13-year history.
At the same time, the proportion of respondents who said they expect the economy will expand in 2011 fell to 56 percent from 66 percent. The finance chiefs’ top concerns included healthcare costs, revenue growth and cash flow, according to the survey.
The results are based on telephone interviews with 801 U.S. CFOs, finance directors and other executives randomly selected from U.S. companies with annual revenue of between $25 million and $2 billion.
The survey, conducted by Granite Research Consulting and taken from mid-September through October, has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percent.
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