Rhode Island chief financial officers echo the restrained expectations for economic growth in 2013 found in two national surveys of finance executives. America’s stubborn economic issues are weighing heavily on regional growth, some local financial leadetrs said.
“I don’t see a lot of positive things happening economically. You’ve got this sequestration. You’re looking at major cuts. They reinstituted 2 percent of the FICA taxes. To me, there’s still a lot of drag on the national economy at this point,” said Navigant Credit Union Chief Financial Officer Daniel O’Brien. “I don’t see Rhode Island or southeastern Massachusetts outperforming the national economy.”
In a survey of 602 financial executives polled in the “Bank of America Merrill Lynch 2013 CFO Outlook,” only two out of five said they are expecting economic growth in 2013.
The survey found 24 percent of the executives said they expect the economy to contract this year, up significantly from 11 percent in 2012.
“It is clear that uncertainty continues to linger among CFOs, which is understandable given the broader economic issues both in the U.S. and overseas,” Alastair Borthwick, head of Global Commercial Banking at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, said in a press release. “Unless they see solid evidence of stability, CFOs will be guarded in their optimism and growth plans. Expansion is still possible, but may be limited in the short-term to certain industries and markets.”
A slightly more optimistic outlook, at least in comparison to the past few years, surfaced in a national survey conducted by TD Bank. The survey of 303 finance executives was conducted by ORC International in November and December 2012.
Forty-six percent of finance managers polled by TD Bank said they are more optimistic about U.S. economic growth in 2013 compared to 2012.