Only 29 percent of CFOs and senior controllers in a new survey by Grant Thornton plan to hire over the next six months.

Seventy-nine percent of the 516 U.S. CFOs and senior controllers surveyed by the firm said they believe the U.S. economy will not recover until the second half of 2011 or later, and 59 percent are concerned about a double-dip recession.

“These findings are consistent with what we have been hearing from our dynamic-organization clients,” said Grant Thornton LLP CEO Stephen Chipman in a statement.  “Indecision stemming from a weak economy and the unknown impact of governmental tax policy and new regulation on business and individuals is causing paralysis, particularly as it relates to major business decisions, including expansion, expenditures and hiring.”

The survey found much less optimism about the U.S. economy over next six months, with only 30 percent of the respondents expecting improvement, down from 44 percent six months earlier. CFOs and senior controllers expressed more optimism about their own businesses than the U.S. economy, with 46 percent expecting improvement in their companies’ financial prospects, down from 52 percent six months ago.

While 62 percent expect no increase in prices over next six months, 31 percent expect their prices to increase. This is up from 24 percent six months earlier. Forty-two percent of the CFOs do not expect an economic recovery until after 2011, while another 37 percent say a recovery won’t happen until the second half of 2011.

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