Accounting and finance workers are gaining confidence in the strength of the economy, but many workers believe there are now fewer jobs available than previously, according to a new survey.

The Mergis Group’s Accounting and Finance Employee Confidence Index dropped 4.0 points to 52.1 in the first quarter of 2011, according to a survey of 3,654 U.S. adults, among which 156 are employed in accounting and finance.

The survey, conducted online by Harris Interactive, found that nearly one-third (29 percent) of the accounting and finance workers polled said they are confident in the strength of the economy, representing a four percentage point increase from the fourth quarter of 2010. More than half (55 percent) of accounting and finance workers believe there are fewer jobs available, up four percentage points from the previous quarter.

The survey was commissioned by the Mergis Group, the professional placement division of SFN Group Inc. Sixty-five percent of accounting and finance workers are confident in the future of their current employer as compared to 71 percent reported in the fourth quarter of 2010. Fewer workers believe it is not likely they will lose their jobs. Specifically, 69 percent believe so versus 78 percent last quarter. Thirty-six percent of accounting and finance workers are likely to make a job transition in the next 12 months, decreasing eight percentage points from the previous quarter.

“The financial landscape and job market remain relatively stable, despite the drop seen in this quarter's Accounting and Finance Confidence Index,” said Mergis Group president Brendan Courtney in a statement. “While the index took a dip over the past quarter, we direct our attention to the year-over-year trend, which shows an upward movement of 1.5 points. This figure tends to be more stable and accounts for macroeconomic adjustments. It is also important to point out that as the economic recovery continues and productivity levels reach an all-time high, more accounting and finance workers are revealing the likelihood of making a job transition. In light of this, we recommend that companies who forego retention efforts altogether over the past several years, pay close attention to them again as the economy improves and more workers keep their eyes open to potential opportunities.”

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