The confidence of accounting and finance workers has plunged to a new low, according to a new survey.

Sixty-four percent of accounting and finance workers polled in the third quarter believe the economy is getting weaker, a decline of 6 percentage points from the second quarter, according to a survey by the Mergis Group and Harris Interactive. Meanwhile, 41 percent of accounting and finance workers report that they are likely to look for a new job, up 7 percentage points from the previous quarter.

Only 48 percent of accounting and finance workers are confident in their ability to find a new job, a 12 percentage point decline from the second quarter. While 67 percent of accounting and finance workers said in the third quarter that they were confident in their current employers' future, that figure is down 7 percentage points from the second quarter.

The Accounting and Finance Employee Confidence Index, a measure of overall confidence among U.S. accounting and finance workers, decreased 1.3 points to 48.5 in the third quarter of 2008, reaching its lowest level since the survey began in 2005.

However, 76 percent of accounting and finance workers believe they are not likely to lose their jobs, about the same proportion as the 75 percent who said the same in the second quarter.

"With accounting and finance workers, there's still a general feeling that there are not enough workers to cover the work to go around," said Mergis Group senior vice president Jack Causa. "That's why you're not seeing accounting and finance workers as concerned as the general public. With all the reporting requirements and the bailout work, there's a general feeling that there are going to be jobs there."

He predicts that accountants will be receiving more work from law firms, bankruptcy workout specialists, and the government to assist with the recovery of the financial markets.

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