Most corporate financial executives have soured on the U.S. economy, and many predict it will slip back into a "double dip" recession.
The bleak outlook is a main theme of the latest quarterly survey released Wednesday by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.
The executives surveyed, including chief financial officers, are considered good predictors of the broader economy, since they oversee companies' finances and help set strategy. The survey is the latest indicator pointing to a slowing economy and weaker hiring.
The survey found that 61 percent think it's "somewhat likely" or "very likely" that this country is headed into another recession. Nine percent were optimistic about the U.S. economy in the third quarter, down from 33 percent in the second quarter.
The mood darkened "as turbulence in the political and economic environment eroded the sense earlier this year that a recovery was taking hold," said Carol Scott, an AICPA vice president.
Of those surveyed, 10 percent have current hiring plans, down from 12 percent last quarter. Still, 41 percent say they remain optimistic about their own organizations.
The survey of 1,305 CPAs was conducted Aug. 10-29. The margin of error was plus or minus 3 percentage points.
The AICPA has a major office in Durham.