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The Mergis Group’s first-quarter 2013 accounting and finance employee confidence index fell to a reading of 53.4 in the first quarter, down 2.4 points from the fourth quarter of 2012. The decline comes after the index posted a 5.4-point rebound in the fourth quarter. The Mergis Group is part of Randstad.
Despite the quarter-over-quarter decline, Ursula Williams, executive vice president of Randstad Finance & Accounting, is optimistic about the report. “Over half of the population out there is pretty confident about what is going on,” said Williams. “We are encouraged by the trends.”
Williams said the fourth-quarter report can be overly optimistic and her day-to-day industry observations are encouraging.
“Currently our demand is good. Our customers are hiring, our candidates are going on interviews. There’s a lot of activity that we’re really confident about,” she said.
Twenty percent of finance and accounting employees believe more jobs are available, down three percentage points from 23 percent in the fourth quarter.
Forty-nine percent of finance and accounting workers are confident in their ability to find a new job, down four percentage points from the previous quarter. The number of workers who say they are not confident they could find a new job increased by 10 percentage points, from 16 percent to 26 percent.
Thirty-two percent of finance and accounting employees believe the economy is getting weaker, down five percentage points from 37 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012.
“Although the first quarter of the year brought a declining confidence level among finance and accounting workers, we believe this may be an anomaly due to the recent sequester and the economic uncertainty it is creating among consumers overall,” said Steve McMahan, president of The Mergis Group.
Harris Interactive conducted the online survey within the United States on behalf of The Mergis Group from Jan. 14-16, Feb. 11-13, and March 5-7 2013. It included 190 respondents employed in accounting and finance.