The U.S. economy is already in a recession, say a majority of CFOs and senior-level executive CPAs.

The survey, conducted by the American Institute of CPAs and the University of North Carolina's Kenan-Flagler Business School, found that 57 percent of the 1,180 executive CPAs polled between July 22 and August 5 believe the U.S. has already entered a recession.

Sixty-two percent said they were pessimistic or very pessimistic about the economic outlook for the U.S. over the next 12 months, an increase in pessimism from the 57 percent who held negative expectations in the second quarter of the year. Only 10 percent of CPAs in executive positions expressed optimism about the economy, a decline from 12 percent in the second quarter.

Thirty-eight percent of executive CPAs said they were optimistic or very optimistic about their organization's economic prospects over the next 12 months, a 7-percentage-point decline from the 45 percent who were upbeat in the second quarter. Financial executives with pessimistic or very pessimistic views of their own organization's outlook increased to 27 percent in the quarter, up from 22 percent in the prior period.

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