Financial executives expect to continue hiring in the first quarter of the New Year, but at a slightly slower pace than during the fourth quarter of 2006, according to the most recent Robert Half International Financial Hiring Index.Six percent of polled chief financial officers said that they plan to add full-time accounting and finance employees, while 3 percent said that they expect staff reductions.  The majority of respondents, 90 percent, said that they expected to see no change in hiring activity.

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.

More than half of the CFOs who anticipate hiring accounting and finance staff in the first quarter cited business growth as the reason, up from 46 percent in the fourth-quarter survey.  And more than 20 percent of financial executives polled said that rising workloads are driving the need for additional staff.

The Pacific states are projected to experience the most active hiring, while hiring in the southeast and New England states is also forecasted to exceed the national average. The most active hiring in the first quarter is projected to take place within business services, and financial hiring in the construction, retail and finance, insurance and real estate industries should also outpace the national average.

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