More than 8 in 10 Chief Financial Officers believe the U.S. economy will not recover until the second half of 2011, if not later, according to a survey of more than 500 CFO’s conducted by Grant Thornton International.

Just 24 percent of those surveyed said they plan to hire over the next six months, with 21 percent of respondents indicating they plan to decrease hiring.

CFO’s in the Central Region, which includes Arkansas, Colorado, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Texas, generally mirrored the national average, but were more bearish in two categories.  Just 36 percent of CFO’s surveyed in the Central Region expected their company’s financial prospects to improve over the next six months, compared to 46 percent nationally.  Also, 64 percent of CFO’s in the Central Region were concerned about a double-dip recession, compared to 59 percent overall.

The final survey question on which Central Region CFO’s differed from their counterparts across the nation was on the best way to create jobs.  A full 38 percent from the region responded that cutting personal income tax rates would best create jobs compared to 29 percent of CFO’s nationwide.

According to Jim Burton, managing partner in Grant Thornton’s Denver office, the findings fell in line with what they anticipated, based on client feedback.

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He said employers continue to be cautious on hiring due to slow growth, coupled with “continuing challenges in governmental budgets that may lead to tax increases.”

The nationwide survey of more than 500 CFO’s and comptrollers was conducted from Oct. 5 through Oct. 15, with 65 respondents representing the Central Region.

View full survey results here.