Pessimism about the U.S. economy among CFOs and senior-level executive CPAs hit an all-time high this quarter, according to a new survey, with most of them not expecting a turnaround for at least another year.

The quarterly survey, conducted by the American Institute of CPAs and the University of North Carolina's Kenan-Flagler Business School, found that only 9 percent of the CFOs and senior CPA executives expect the economy to improve before the second half of 2009. Forty-two percent expect the economy to improve in the second half of next year, but 49 percent see no improvement at all until 2010 or later.

Pessimists outnumbered optimists by 16 to 1 in the poll. Eighty-two percent of the respondents indicated they were pessimistic or very pessimistic, up from 62 percent in the third quarter.

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