Chief financial officers are slightly more optimistic about employment growth in the U.S. for the next year than they were last quarter, according to a recent survey.
Respondents to the latest quarterly Duke/CFO Magazine Global Outlook survey expect U.S. employment to increase by 1.5% over the next year, up from 0.9% they predicted last quarter. At that rate, national unemployment sh ould decrease to near 8% by the end of 2012.
"It's certainly a move in the right direction," said Kate O'Sullivan, senior editor at CFO Magazine. "It's not a huge shift, but people are looking for any sort of positive sign at this point."
It's a move in the right direction.”
The survey polled 1,050 CFOs from global public and private companies across a broad range of industries about their expectations for the economy.
Adding further to optimism on jobs expressed in the Duke/CFO survey, the U.S. Labor Department reported that initial jobless claims fell by 19,000 to 366,000 last week, the fewest since May 2008. The number of claims was lower than most economists had projected.
CFOs are slightly more optimistic about the U.S. economy than that in Europe and have plans to increase capital, technology and marketing spending, O'Sullivan said.
Nearly 50% of CFOs in Europe say they expect their countries will enter a recession in the next six months, while 90% say the debt crisis has negatively affected their business. As a result, they don't expect employment to increase at all during the next 12 months.
CFOs expect employment to grow in Asia, but at a rate of 5%, two points less than the 7% expected last quarter. Still, the decrease shouldn't worry jobseekers too much.
"Expectations for growth in Asia are slowing a bit, which reflects general unease about the global economy, but some slowing is probably OK," O'Sullivan said. "The rate may be moderating but it's still healthy growth."
Write to Julie Steinberg at Julie.Steinberg@dowjones.com