Staffing levels in accounting and finance are anticipated to stay fairly steady in the second quarter, according to a survey of CFOs by staffing company Robert Half International.

The company’s Financial Hiring Index found that 91 percent of the 1,400 CFOs surveyed said they expect to maintain their current personnel levels in the second quarter, up from 69 percent at the beginning of the year. In addition, 4 percent of the CFOs polled said they plan to add employees, while 5 percent predict staff decreases.

The CFOs surveyed mostlt remain optimistic about their businesses. Ninety-one percent said they are confident in their companies’ growth prospects in Q2, up four points from the first-quarter survey.

"As economic signs continue to improve incrementally in the United States, companies are hiring skilled accounting and finance professionals at a steady rate to meet demand," said Robert Half International chairman and CEO Max Messmer. "Staff reductions are trending downward as businesses seek to avoid weakening their bench strength at a time when growth opportunities are emerging."

The East South Central states of Alabama, Kentucky and Mississippi, along with the Mountain states of Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming are projected to see the most active hiring in the second quarter. A net 5 percent of executives interviewed in each of these regions said they are planning to hire full-time accounting and finance employees.

“The relatively low business and living costs in many areas within the East South Central region are attracting employers and job candidates alike,” said Messmer. “Companies in the Mountain states are hiring senior accountants and controllers, with most of the activity taking place at midsize firms. In both regions, manufacturing employment is making a comeback following deep cuts during the last recession.”

Executives with wholesale firms plan to do the most hiring in the second quarter, according to the survey. A net 10 percent of CFOs in the wholesale industry said they anticipate adding staff.

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