Minimal growth in employee numbers predicted for next 12 months

State of U.S. economy biggest challenge: Survey

Minimal growth in employee numbers is anticipated for the next 12 months, with only a one per cent gain forecast by executives in a survey by the Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada.

Forty per cent of the professional accountants in leadership positions surveyed expect employee numbers at their company to increase in the next 12 months while 37 per cent anticipate no change and 21 per cent expect a drop.

The outlook is essentially unchanged from the first quarter of the year, said the CPA Canada Business Monitor.

There is no movement when it comes to optimism about how the Canadian economy will perform over the next 12 months. In both the first and second quarters of this year, 26 per cent of those surveyed expressed optimism about what lies ahead for the economy.

Most respondents (61 per cent) remain neutral about the prospects for the Canadian economy while just 13 per cent are pessimistic, found the survey of 322 people.

The state of the United States economy is viewed as the strongest challenge to economic growth in Canada. Forty-two per cent of respondents listed it as the number one challenge, well ahead of uncertainty surrounding the Canadian economy (16 per cent) and consumer confidence (12 per cent).

"Lingering economic uncertainty, whether it be in the U.S. or at home, is affecting how the respondents feel about the Canadian economy and the prospects for their own company," said Kevin Dancey, president and CEO of CPA Canada.

Company optimism is basically unchanged. Almost one-half (47 per cent) of respondents are optimistic about how their company will perform over the next 12 months — 46 per cent were optimistic in the first quarter of the year.

Sixty-two per cent expect their revenues to increase in the next year and 59 per cent are forecasting an increase in profits.

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