CFOs Believe Economy Will Worsen, Yet Don't See Same Fate for Their Companies

Companies won't increase prices in next six months

In a survey of CFOs and senior comptrollers conducted by Grant Thornton LLP, 58% believe that the U.S. economy will worsen over the next six months, while 39% believe it will improve or remain the same. This represents a significant change in outlook since the same survey was last taken only six months ago, when 36% felt the economy would worsen and 64% believed it would improve or remain the same. The survey was conducted from March 10 through March 28, 2008 with 222 chief financial officers and senior comptrollers.

Only 15% believe that their own financial prospects will worsen (up from 12% six months earlier), while 42% expect financial improvements over the next six months (up from 41%). At the same time, 37% predict an increase in the pricing of their goods, driven primarily by the increasing costs of employee benefits.

Over the next six months, do you expect the U.S. economy to:

  • Improve 9.91%
  • Remain the same 30.18%
  • Worsen 59.01%

Over the next six months, do you expect your company's financial prospects to:

  • Improve 42.34%
  • Remain the same 41.44%
  • Worsen 15.32%

Over the next six months, do you expect prices or fees charged by your company to:

  • Increase 37.39%
  • Remain the same 57.21%
  • Decrease 4.05%

About which type of pricing pressure are you most concerned?

  • Employee benefits (e.g., health care, pensions) 39.19%
  • Energy 15.32%
  • Insurance 4.05%
  • Raw materials (e.g., food, metals) 26.13%
  • Other 14.41%

Over the next six months, do you expect your headcount to:

  • Increase 33.33%
  • Remain the same 49.10%
  • Decrease 15.77%
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