Good Economic News in Bank of America Merrill Lynch Survey

men shaking hands - good economic newsIf you're looking for good economic news, especially when it comes to unemployment, there's plenty of it to be found in a recently-released Bank of America Merrill Lynch survey. While it's just one survey, it comes on the heels of a lot of promising news about the economy lately. That said, because there haven't been many signs that the job market is going to pick up for some time now, this survey is worth lingering over.The annual survey, known as the CFO Outlook, includes opinions from 801 executives regarding their companies and the economy. Of the executives surveyed, 47% said they believe their companies will be hiring additional employees next year, a number that's up significantly from last year, when just 28% made that prediction.

"Many of them are expecting to hire permanent employees, some are expecting to hire temporary and contract employees, and some are expecting to hire both," says Laura Whitley, Global Commercial Products executive at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, who spoke during a teleconference I sat in on regarding the survey results.

Other critical results: 6% of the executives surveyed predicted layoffs; last year, 9% made that forecast. And 64% of CFOs are predicting revenue growth next year. Of course, companies have been sitting on profits for awhile now, so that's not so surprising. But if more businesses would start actually hiring people, that could really help jumpstart the economy.

Yeah, the economy. Now about that ... Whitley observed of the CFOs, "While they feel good about their company, they feel cautious about the economy." The financial executives surveyed, in fact, gave the economy a score of 47 out of 100 (100 meaning extremely strong and zero indicating that even Warren Buffett would be in a bread line).

A score of 47 is pretty shabby, though it's still better than last year's score of 44, which was the lowest in the survey's 13-year history. Hey, we'll take good news where we can find it.
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