Employee compensation and benefit costs were the No. 3 concern identified by more than 1,000 C-Suite executives recently surveyed by the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants – a jump of six spots in the ranking of concerns from three months ago, the group reported on Thursday (Sept. 3).
The top concerns in the latest ranking were "domestic economic conditions" and "domestic political leadership."
The executives are more optimistic about potential growth at their organizations over the next year than they were three months ago, but "still harbor deep concerns about the strength of the U.S. and global economies in the midst of a worldwide pandemic," per the third-quarter economic conditions survey.
Some 43 percent of the responding executives said they expected their companies to expand in the next 12 months, up from 24 percent three months ago. The executives who said they were "optimistic" about their companies increased to 43 percent from 24 percent. A year ago, 61 percent said they were "optimistic."
Some 24 percent said they were "optimistic" about the U.S. economy over the next year, an increase of four percentage points from the second-quarter survey. The percentage who are "optimistic" about the global economy increased to 17 percent from 11 percent.
“This has been the worst economic and humanitarian crisis on a global scale in our lives, one that will have a long-lasting impact on almost every aspect of life, from where we live, work and shop to how we travel and vacation,” Ash Noah, head of the trade group's learning and education operations, said in a prepared statement.
“In the midst of most trends being upended, we’re seeing improvement in a number of categories this quarter, but it’s worth remembering we’re digging out of a very deep hole of pessimism," he continued. "Comparisons are still tracking with the years immediately following the Great Recession. We’re also seeing the usual uncertainty over the outcome of the presidential election, which – given our current state of political polarization – adds to business’ sense of unease and volatility.”
The report was released the same day the federal government reported a slight improvement in the national unemployment picture.