Business executives who are CPAs are feeling more optimistic about the U.S. economy than they’ve felt in the past three years.
Approximately 70% of business executives expressed optimism about the U.S. economy over the next 12 months, up from 47% in the first quarter of the year, according to a quarterly survey released Thursday by the American Institute of CPAs. This marks the first time a majority of CPA business executives have had a positive outlook on the economy since the COVID-19 pandemic began in the first quarter of 2020, and is the highest level reached on the survey since the second quarter of 2018.
The economy seems to be on the rebound this year thanks in part to the wide availability of COVID-19 vaccines. The AICPA Economic Outlook Survey indicated some signs of concern, however, with “availability of skilled personnel” cited as the top challenge for businesses as job recruitment increases. Two-thirds of business executives also voiced concerns about inflation, an increase from 44% in the second quarter.
“What we’re seeing is a broad expectation that things will really open up in the second half of the year,” said Ash Noah, vice president and managing director of CGMA learning, education and development at the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants, in a statement. “Many issues remain, of course. Supply chains are still straining to meet demand in a number of sectors. The global response to the pandemic still contains many uncertainties, which impacts the United States. But we are clearly seeing growing confidence on the part of business executives that the worst is behind us.”
Most of the survey results were positive, with business executives’ optimism about their own organization’s prospects over the next 12 months increasing from 58% to 76% since last quarter. In addition, 69% of the executives polled said their companies plan to expand in the next 12 months, up from 58% in the first quarter.