Chief financial officers expect increased hiring activity in the second quarter of 2007, according to the Robert Half Financial Hiring Index. 

Seven percent of more than 1,400 executives polled said that they anticipate bringing in more full-time employee, up from 5 percent in the first quarter. Just 2 percent said that they plan reductions in personnel. More than half of the CFOs expecting to fill positions said that business growth is the driver.

“Talent shortages are affecting a growing number of specialty areas within accounting and finance,” said chairman and chief of Robert Half International Max Messmer, in a statement. “Reflecting the competitive market for these professionals, candidates often receive counteroffers when they announce plans to leave their current firms.”

Hiring is projected to be strongest in the South Atlantic states, which include Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia and Washington. Nine percent of CFOs in the region expect to add accounting and finance employees in the coming quarter.

Hiring in the Mountain (Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming) and Mid-Atlantic states (New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania) is also forecasted to exceed the national average. 

Among industries, executives in the wholesale sector are most optimistic about hiring, with 12 percent of CFOs in this industry anticipate bringing in full-time accounting and finance employees. Hiring activity in the manufacturing and construction industries is expected to outpace national projections as well.

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