CFOs Expect a Recession by 2020, Deloitte Says

Survey finds 55% of corporate financial chiefs expect a downturn, a marked decline in optimism.

Even though the stock market seems to have gotten over its jitters about the economy, the folks who captain North American corporate finances are becoming more downbeat.

More than half of chief financial officers (CFOs) expect a recession by next year, according to the quarterly survey by professional services firm Deloitte. Of the CFOs in the US, Canada, and Mexico, 55% expect an economic downturn by the end of 2020. Among just US CFOs, 53% are expecting a recession.

The finance chiefs showed diminished confidence, with just 26% expressing rising optimism versus 48% in the third quarter. Indeed, 29% of US CFOs expect the American economy to improve in 2019, which is about half those who had such a sunny view entering 2017 and 2018.

For this year, 94% of CFOs expect rising labor costs and 54% anticipate strong consumer spending. At the same time, only 32% expect strong business spending, which is half of the proportion from last year. 

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