Hiring activity in accounting and finance is expected to pick up slightly in the second quarter, according to the most recent Robert Half International Financial Hiring Index.

Five percent of chief financial officers surveyed plan to add staff, while 4 percent anticipated personnel reductions. In the first quarter, executives said that they expected hiring to remain flat.

Among executives expecting to hire, 55 percent cited business growth as the primary factor fueling the demand, while 17 percent pointed to rising workloads as being behind the need for additional workers.

Among industries, construction was forecast to experience the greatest gains in financial hiring, with 7 percent of executives expecting to add full-time staff. Projections for the transportation and retail sectors also were above the national average, with a net 6 percent and 4 percent of executives, respectively, planning to hire accounting personnel in the second quarter.

The national poll includes responses from more than 1,400 CFOs from a stratified random sample of U.S. companies with 20 or more employees. It was conducted by an independent research firm and developed by Robert Half International Inc., a staffing firm specializing in the accounting, finance and information technology industries.

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