The U.S. economy will modestly improve over the next six months. But, don't expect a big dent in unemployment numbers. Modest economic improvement also means modest hiring plans in the United States.
That's the outlook from the first survey of the CNBC Global CFO Council, a group of top financial officers representing a broad swath of the economy and controlling roughly a trillion dollars in assets. Members of the council come from a wide range of business sectors including retail, banking, energy and healthcare, to name a few.
CNBC will survey this group of CFOs on a regular basis to gauge the economic view from the ranks of top money men in the boardrooms of Corporate America.
And what they are seeing now is pretty mixed.
About 60 percent of the council agrees with current Fed rate policy and believe that along with corporate earnings, it is a key driver in propelling the record highs seen in the market this month. Yet the Number One risk to business is policy uncertainty in Washington while the ongoing European crisis still leaves U.S. businesses cautious.
More insights from the survey:
- Over thirty nine percent of the CFOs say earnings growth in Q2 will be slightly better than expected from U.S. corporations
- CFOs believe the probability of recession over the next 12 months is 14 percent
- M&A transactions may only increase slightly in 2013 over the prior year
- Over 60 percent prefer returning cash to shareholders through an increased dividend
- About half expect their effective tax rates to be lower, if Congress acts on corporate tax reform
The complete results of CNBC GLOBAL CFO COUNCIL Survey can be found below: