Jobs and the Economy: More Good News Than Bad

Jobs and the Economy Just when the economy seems to be picking up a bit, something happens to dash your hope. For example, U.S. consumer confidence rebounded in April and hit a three-month high in May, but rising gas prices, unemployment rates and a slowdown in the retail economy, threaten to kill that confidence.

But there's another reason to be more optimistic than pessimistic. According to the latest GE Capital Survey released Tuesday, 80 percent of the CFOs of midsize businesses said they expect to hire additional employees in the next 12 months -- 65 percent have already begun hiring. Those planning to hire expect to increase their workforces by 6 percent this year, and 80 percent of those positions are expected to be permanent.

"Eighty percent planning on hiring was a pretty bold statement," Dan Henson, CEO of GE Capital Americas, told Bloomberg on Tuesday. "This was the most definitive [indication] we've seen in the three times we've done this survey."

Other good news that could affect the job outlook: Chief financial officers of midsize companies are becoming more positive on the state of their industries. A full 72 percent of the CFOs surveyed expect revenues to increase in 2011. This is up from 64 percent of CFOs who expected a year-over-year bump in 2010.

The one area about which CFOs continue to worry is the cost of raw materials. Rising material costs were listed as a significant concern by 75 percent of the CFOs -- up from 60 percent a year ago. Nonetheless, a large majority (82 percent) of those surveyed expect their profit margins to increase or stay the same in 2011. Healthy profit margins are often followed by healthy hiring numbers.

Next: Top Companies Hiring This Week


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