CPAs serving as top executives aren’t very optimistic about the economy, according to the latest Business and Industry Economic Outlook Survey conducted by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants in October.

Only 30% said they are optimistic about the U.S. economic outlook over the next 12 months, a decline of 17 percentage points from July, when 47% said they were optimistic. When AICPA first conducted the survey in June 2004, 75% were optimistic or very optimistic about the U.S. economy.

And as far as the number that are pessimistic, 26% last month said they were, up 11 percentage points from 15% in July.

“This is the first time since we launched the Economic Outlook survey three years ago that so many CPAs in business have expressed this level of anxiety about the state of the U.S. economy,” said John Morrow, vice president for business, industry and government at the AICPA.

More than half of the 1,242 executives surveyed said they are concerned about a slowdown in economic growth, the housing market and tightening credit conditions. Others cited rising oil prices and the declining value of the U.S. dollar.

Sixty-nine percent of the respondents agreed that the Federal Reserve’s 50-basis point rate cut on Sept. 18 was necessry to prevent market turmoil from stalling the economy.

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