Mountain and New England Regions Forecast Strongest Employment Growth

MENLO PARK, CA -- Chief financial officers (CFOs) anticipate a net 9 percent increase in the hiring of accounting and finance professionals in the second quarter of 2000, according to the just-released Robert Half Financial Hiring Index. Eleven percent of CFOs polled said their companies expect to add personnel in the next three months and only 2 percent project staff reductions. Eighty-five percent of executives foresee no change in hiring activity. The net 9 percent increase in hiring is up two percentage points from the first quarter forecast.

The national poll includes responses from 1,400 CFOs from a stratified random sample of companies with more than 20 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.

“Companies adjusting to continued business expansion and the new financial demands associated with this growth are recognizing a need for additional accounting support,” said Max Messmer, chairman and CEO of Robert Half. “Organizations are actively hiring professionals ranging from staff accountants who can assist with the preparation of key financial reports to executives who can provide strategic analysis and leadership.”

 Accounting and Financial Hiring -- By Region

The Mountain[1] states are expected to see the strongest hiring activity in the second quarter. Eighteen percent of CFOs plan to add accounting and finance personnel and 2 percent anticipate reductions, for a net hiring increase of 16 percent. “Start-up companies and businesses relocating to the region are hiring financial staff at all levels as they establish accounting departments,” Messmer said.

CFOs in the New England[2] states also project notable employment gains. Fifteen percent of executives expect to add accounting and finance staff and only 1 percent forecast cutbacks, for a net 14 percent increase in hiring. “The region’s high-technology and financial services firms, in particular, are developing the accounting teams required to support e-business initiatives and other growth opportunities,” Messmer said.

 Staffing activity is also expected to exceed the national average in the Middle Atlantic[3] and West South Central[4] regions, where CFOs foresee a net 13 percent increase in hiring, and in the Pacific[5] states, where executives anticipate a net 10 percent increase.

 Accounting and Financial Hiring -- By Industry

Executives in the finance, insurance and real estate sector forecast particularly strong hiring activity in the second quarter. Twenty-five percent of CFOs plan to expand their accounting and finance staff and none expect personnel reductions. Notable hiring gains are also projected in the retail industry, where 26 percent of executives anticipate staff additions and 2 percent foresee cutbacks, for a net 24 percent increase in hiring.

 Employment growth is also forecast above the national average in the wholesale sector, with a net 19 percent increase in hiring. CFOs in the business services industry anticipate a net 12 percent increase in hiring, while executives in the manufacturing sector project a net 10 percent 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 270 offices in North America, Europe and Australia, and offers online job search services at


[1] Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, Wyoming

[2] Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont

[3] New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania

[4] Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Texas

[5] Alaska, California, Hawaii, Oregon, Washington


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