Optimism about the U.S. economy among CPAs serving in corporate America's C-level suites is declining, according to the latest Business and Industry Economic Outlook survey from the American Institute of CPAs.

More than 2,500 CPAs participated in the June survey -- including 1,324 chief financial officers, 456 controllers and 234 chief executives. Sixty percent of the respondents work for private companies, while just less than half work for companies with revenues between $10 million and $100 million.

Among the study's other findings:

  • 54 percent of the respondents expressed opinions on the economy that ranged from neutral to very pessimistic, up from 41 percent expressing similar sentiments in December 2005, when the last survey was conducted;
  • 68 percent remained confident about the prospects for their own companies, with 58 percent projecting moderate to substantial growth by the end of 2006, and plans for their spending -- especially for information technology and new product development - continuing to be strong;
  • 39 percent said that their companies will increase their workforces over the next six months, down from 45 percent who said the same thing in December; and,
  • 75 percent said they are concerned about the impact that changes in short-term interest rates will have on inflation, saying they were more worried about inflation than on economic growth.

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