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Two Reports Surveying CFOs of Mid-Sized U.S. Companies Indicate Optimism on Revenue, Hiring and Overall Economic Outlook

According to a recently released GE Capital Survey, CFOs of mid-sized companies (revenues between $50 million and $1 billion) are becoming more positive on the state of the industries in which they operate; in fact, their overall level of optimism has increased significantly since they were first surveyed in January 2010.

Seventy-two percent of the 530 CFOs surveyed during the first quarter said revenues would increase in 2011 compared to 2010. This is up from 64 percent of the CFOs surveyed last year who expected a year-over-year increase in revenues.

Additionally, 80 percent of the CFOs surveyed said they expect to hire additional employees in the next 12 months - with 65 percent having already begun hiring. Those planning to hire expect to increase their work forces by 6 percent this year, and 80 percent of those positions are expected to be permanent.

"Eighty percent planning on hiring was a pretty bold statement," Dan Henson, CEO of GE Capital Americas, told Bloomberg. "This was the most definitive we've seen in the three times we've done this survey."

In a related annual study from CFO Research Services, in collaboration with American Express, conducted in March 2011 - Global Business and Spending Monitor - senior finance executives at large companies across the globe see brighter economic prospects for the coming year. Three-quarters of those surveyed expect the economy in their countries to expand in the next 12 months. However, views on their economic prospects do vary by region. For example, respondents in the emerging markets of Argentina, India, and Mexico are more likely to anticipate economic expansion than their peers in the mature markets of Europe and United States. Respondents working in emerging markets also expect the pace of recovery to pick up sooner than their counterparts in mature markets. Additionally, companies around the globe are beginning to spend more in order to boost capacity - not just productivity - in preparation for growth, according to the study.

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