Mountain and Pacific States Lead Nation in Projected Employment Gains

MENLO PARK, CA -- Chief financial officers (CFOs) anticipate a net 8 percent increase in the hiring of accounting and finance professionals in the first quarter of 2001, according to the just-released Robert Half International Financial Hiring Index. Twelve percent of CFOs surveyed said their companies expect to add accounting and finance staff in the next three months and 4 percent foresee personnel reductions. Eighty-two percent of executives project no change in hiring activity.

The national poll includes responses from 1,400 CFOs from a stratified random sample of companies with 20 or more employees. It was conducted by an independent research firm and developed by Robert Half International Inc., the world's largest staffing services firm specializing in the accounting, finance and information technology fields.

"Hiring remains strong as companies recognize the value accounting professionals can add to their strategic planning efforts," said Max Messmer, chairman and CEO of Robert Half International. "Firms are turning to their financial staff for guidance on everything from information technology initiatives to international expansion. Accounting professionals who understand broader business issues and can communicate complex information to a diverse audience are highly sought after."

Accounting and Financial Hiring -- By Region

The Mountain1 states are expected to see the strongest hiring activity in the first quarter. Nineteen percent of CFOs plan to add accounting and finance personnel, and 3 percent project cutbacks, for a net hiring increase of 16 percent. The Mountain region also led the nation in planned hiring in the previous quarter's forecast. "Continued business expansion is creating a need for financial professionals to manage daily accounting requirements, such as processing transactions and preparing reports," Messmer said.

CFOs in the Pacific2 states also anticipate solid employment gains in the next three months. Eighteen percent of executives expect to add accounting and finance personnel and 3 percent foresee staff reductions, for a net hiring increase of 15 percent. "Demand is particularly strong for experienced staff and senior accountants who can make an immediate contribution when they join a company," Messmer said.

The East South Central3 and East North Central4 regions will also experience staffing growth above the national average, according to the survey. CFOs in the East South Central states forecast a net hiring increase of 10 percent, while executives in the East North Central region expect a net 9 percent increase.

Accounting and Financial Hiring -- By Industry

Financial executives in the business services sector (advertising, personnel, data processing, repair, motion picture, and amusement and recreation services) forecast notable employment growth in the first quarter. Twenty-one percent of CFOs plan to add accounting and finance personnel and 3 percent expect to decrease staff, for a net hiring increase of 18 percent. The manufacturing industry also anticipates strong financial staffing activity, with a net hiring increase of 16 percent. In addition, CFOs in the transportation and wholesale sectors forecast employment gains above the national average with respective net hiring increases of 15 percent and 13 percent.

Robert Half International Inc. was founded in 1948 and is traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: RHI). Its financial staffing divisions include Accountemps®, Robert Half® and RHI Management Resources®, for temporary, full-time and senior-level project professionals, respectively. The company has more than 290 offices throughout North America, Europe and Australia, and offers online job search services at

1 Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, Wyoming
2 Alaska, California, Hawaii, Oregon, Washington
3 Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, Tennessee 4Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin Media Contacts

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