Times are tough for most Americans in the midst of the Second Great Depression.
But things look different from on high, in the view of the corporate financial officers surveyed by Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
- They give the U.S. economy a score of 53 out of 100, reversing steady declines from 54 last spring to 44 at the onset of 2012.
- Views on the world economy remain cautious while improving from 43 to 47.
- They are increasingly confident the U.S. economy will expand in 2012 (63 percent) versus four months ago (38 percent).
- 51 percent of companies are planning to hire additional permanent and/or contract employees this year, 43 percent have no plans to change the size of their work force, and only 8 percent are making reductions in staff size.
- 20 percent of companies will spend more on research and development in 2012, 63 percent will maintain current spending levels, and only 3 percent plan to reduce R&D expenses.
Clearly, corporate financial officers are bullish on American capitalism—a view of the privileged few on high that couldn’t be more different from the vast majority at the bottom.