There is a case of good news and bad news in a survey of chief financial officers today, and it has what should likely be an economic overhang for 2013. The good news is that CFOs are at least more optimistic for 2013 than they were a year ago. The bad news is that they are still very concerned about growth prospects. The Bank of America Corp. (NYSE: BAC) 2013 CFO Outlook shows that only about two out of five respondents from its survey of 602 executives are expecting growth in 2013.
In the survey, the executive group gave the U.S. economy an average score of 49 out of 100 for 2013. That figure was 44 in the 2012 report. Executives gave the global economy a score of 45 out of 100, which was up from 43 in 2012. Only 39% of CFOs are predicting expansion in 2013, versus 38% in 2012. Also different from a year ago is that 24% of executives expect the economy to contract in 2013, more than twice the rate of 11% in 2012.
Most CFOs expect their companies to avoid layoffs in 2013: only 8% predicted headcount reductions, versus 7% last year. In line with last year’s results, some 48% said they expect to maintain the current number of employees and 45% expect to hire employees.
Significant growth expectations are in international activity, and executives reported increased buying from non-U.S. markets, selling to non-U.S. markets and operations in non-U.S. markets.
Other notable outlook details can be found here in the survey.