A survey of accounting and finance professionals shows a decreasing level of confidence in the economy and the job market.

The Accounting and Finance Employee Confidence Index declined 6.4 points to 50.5 in the first quarter of 2008. That’s the lowest level since the 2005 inception of the survey, which is commissioned by the Mergis Group, a professional placement division of Spherion Corp., and conducted by Harris Interactive.

The survey found that 66 percent of the accounting and finance workers polled believe that the economy is getting weaker. That’s a 16-point increase from the fourth quarter of 2007.

The survey also found that 56 percent of accounting and finance workers believe that there are fewer jobs available, up 15 percentage points from the previous quarter.

In addition, the amount of workers likely to look for a new job increased to 35 percent, a seven-point increase from the fourth quarter of 2007.

Despite the pessimistic poll results, Jack Causa, senior vice president of the Mergis Group, noted that his group was continuing to see positive growth in demand for workers with skills in tax, financial reporting, corporate auditing and accounting for derivatives. In addition, the U.S. Department of Labor has projected that job candidates in accounting and finance have the best prospects of any industry in 2008.

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