A fourth-quarter survey of CPAs who hold leadership positions in their companies found that these executives were more optimistic about the U.S. economy than they had been in the previous quarter.
The American Institute of CPAs reported Thursday that half of survey takers expressed optimism about the U.S. economy’s overall outlook over the next 12 months, up from 42% in the third quarter.
The report noted that that was still way down from the 79% of executives who had a favorable view on the economy in early 2018.
Respondents’ outlook on the global economy was much more pessimistic, though improved from the July-to-September period, with 28% expressing optimism, up four percentage points.
The survey found that executives expected profit growth over the next 12 months to be 2.7%, down from 2.8% last quarter and significantly below the outlook of 4.3% a year ago.
Similarly, 12-month revenue growth expectations fell by a tenth of a percentage point to 3.4% quarter over quarter, down from 5% a year ago.
“We saw a sharp drop in U.S. economic optimism in the third quarter due to the U.S.-China trade war really driving uncertainty, so this quarter represents a correction of sorts, with prospects of a reasonable outcome,” Ash Noah, the AICPA’s managing director of CGMA learning, education and development, said in a statement.
“But there also is a continued sense of unease and uncertainty about trade and growth prospects, and we’re seeing that in some of these more conservative forecasts.”
The survey was conducted from Oct. 31 to Nov. 20 and included 907 qualified responses from CPAs who hold executive positions, such as chief financial officer or controller, in their companies.