Approximately half – 47 percent – of American companies whose sales range from $25 million to $2 billion say they will hire more employees in 2011, according to a Bank of America survey of chief financial officers (CFOs). The new number represents a significant uptick over the 28 percent who planned to hire new employees one year ago. The news is not all good – 61 percent of companies who do not plan to hire said there is still reduced demand for their products or services. The survey of 800 firms covered a broad range of industries throughout the United States.
The CFOs are unsure that the economic recovery will last, as well as being concerned about the impact of the healthcare reform law that Congress passed in March of 2010. Their caution is evident in the fact that – on a scale of one to 100 – the CFOs gave the economy a rank of 47. This represents a slight increase over the 44 level recorded last year. An addition 64 percent expect their companies’ revenue will grow in 2011; 55 percent anticipate margin growth.
“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, Bank of America’s global commercial products executive, said. “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. It’s exciting to see a more positive mood.” Yet, she noted, the recovery has been slower than expected. “When talking with businesses we hear it all the time.”