Participants in the 2013 Bank of America Merrill Lynch CFO Outlook Mid-Year Update gave the U.S. economy an average score of 58 out of 100. This figure was up from 49 in the last survey conducted late last year. The global economy received a score of 51, up from 45.
CFOs showed even greater optimism about economic growth, with 55% expecting expansion in 2013, compared with 39% in the previous survey. Those expecting the economy to shrink dropped to 10% from 24%.
Why this surge of confidence? U.S. companies continue to do more business globally, with 76% of CFOs reporting some type of activity in foreign markets. That is up from 73% in the previous survey and 67% one year ago.
Beyond their brighter view of the economy, CFOs and their companies remain focused on new markets and opportunities for international growth, said Alastair Borthwick, head of Global Commercial Banking at Bank of America Merrill Lynch in a press release. While expanding into other countries is attractive, doing business globally brings many challenges and often requires a wide range of financial solutions. More than ever, U.S. companies are seeking help with accessing capital, managing risk, maximizing cash and increasing efficiency as they grow their businesses.
The response was also positive when it came to hiring. The figure for employee hiring rose from 45% to 48%.