U.S. business executives optimism about the economy continues to rise to levels not seen since before the recession, according to a new survey.
A little more than half those polled by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants for its third-quarter survey were optimistic, or very optimistic, about the nation's prospects.
The 52 percent with a positive outlook in the quarter was up from 50 percent in the second quarter, which marked the first time since the recession that it had reached the 50 percent threshold.
Executives cited the improving real estate market and declining unemployment as the reasons for their increased optimism.
Never miss a local story.
Concerns about regulatory requirements and changes continue to be executives biggest challenge. Concern about domestic economic conditions was the next biggest worry, with those executives expressing concerns about inflation increasing from 32 percent to 38 percent. Just 5 percent expressed concerns about deflation.
The optimism about the economy is translating into a more positive view of the executives' prospects for their own businesses. In the latest quarter, 65 percent were optimistic about their company's prospects, up from 61 percent in the second quarter. Those with expansion plans also rose from 64 percent to 68 percent.
Slightly more than half of all companies participating in the survey said they have the right number of employees currently. The percentage of companies reluctant to hire declined from 20 percent in the second quarter to 18 percent, while those planning to hire rose from 15 percent in the first quarter to 20 percent.
AICPA, which has more than 500 employees in Durham, surveyed 1,110 CPAs in August who serve as chief financial officer, controller and other leading positions in their companies.