South Atlantic And Mountain States Forecast The Strongest Personnel Gains

MENLO PARK, CA -- Chief financial officers (CFOs) project a net 8 percent increase in the hiring of accounting and finance professionals in the second quarter of 2001, according to the just-released Robert Half Financial Hiring Index. Eleven percent of CFOs surveyed said their companies expect to add accounting and finance staff in the next three months and 3 percent foresee personnel reductions. Eighty-four percent of executives anticipate no change in hiring activity. A net 8 percent hiring increase was also forecast in the previous two quarters.

The national poll includes responses from 1,400 CFOs from a stratified random sample of companies with 20 or more employees. It was conducted by an independent research firm and developed by Robert Half, the world's largest staffing services firm specializing in the accounting, finance and information technology fields.

"The hiring outlook remains positive for the second quarter of 2001 as firms continue to rely on financial staff for strategic guidance," said Max Messmer, chairman and CEO of Robert Half. "The accounting function is critical to the day-to-day operation of a company and demand for skilled talent is strong, particularly for those individuals with expertise in technology."

Accounting and Financial Hiring -- By Region

Financial executives in the South Atlantic1 states expect to see the most hiring activity during the next three months. Nineteen percent of executives plan to expand their accounting and finance departments, and just 1 percent anticipate staff reductions, for a net hiring increase of 18 percent. "Many businesses in the South Atlantic region are experiencing growth. As a result, companies are actively hiring staff accountants, as well as accounts receivable and accounts payable professionals to process the increasing volume of transactions," Messmer said.

The Mountain2 states also predict strong employment growth in the second quarter. Twelve percent of CFOs expect to add accounting and finance personnel and none anticipate reductions, for a net 12 percent hiring increase.

"Businesses are continuing to relocate to the Mountain region due to its relatively low cost of living," Messmer said. "This expansion is creating a need for accounting support at all levels, most notably for senior and staff accountants."

Accounting and Financial Hiring -- By Industry

CFOs in the wholesale sector are most optimistic about hiring in the second quarter. Eighteen percent of financial executives expect to add accounting and finance staff and 3 percent plan personnel cutbacks, for a net hiring increase of 15 percent.

Employment growth is also forecast to exceed the national average in the business services industry (advertising, personnel, data processing, repair, motion picture, and amusement and recreation services), with a net hiring increase of 11 percent. CFOs in the professional services (includes legal, educational and social services, museums and membership organizations, and engineering and accounting firms) and transportation sectors each project a net hiring increase of 10 percent, while executives in the construction industry anticipate a 9 percent net hiring increase.

Robert Half was founded in 1948 and is traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: RHI). Its financial staffing divisions include Accountemps®, Robert Half® and RHI Management Resources®, for temporary, full-time and senior-level project professionals, respectively. The company has more than 300 offices throughout North America, Europe and Australia, and offers online job search services at


Financial Hiring Index: By Industry

Financial Hiring Index: By Region

Financial Hiring Index: Comparative Data


1 Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia
2 Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, Wyoming

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