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Survey: Mortgage Woes Drive Down Outlook for U.S. Economy

Optimism about the economy among CPAs serving as senior-level executives plunged in the fourth quarter to its lowest level in three years, according to the latest Business and Industry Economic Outlook Survey of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. Less than one-third of respondents said in October that they were optimistic about the U.S. economic outlook over the next 12 months -- a 17 percentage-point drop from 47 percent in July who said they were optimistic. At the same time, pessimism rose in the latest survey to 26 percent, an 11 percentage-point increase from 15 percent of respondents who held negative views of the U.S. economy three months earlier. "This is the first time since we launched the Economic Outlook survey three years ago that so many CPAs in business and industry have expressed this level of anxiety about the state of the U.S. economy," said John Morrow, AICPA vice president for business, industry and government. More than half of CPAs surveyed cited subprime mortgage losses, a slowdown in U.S. housing and tightening credit conditions for their shift in sentiment. Other concerns were rising prices of oil and gas as well as the declining value of the U.S. dollar. For more information, visit http://fmcenter.aicpa.org.

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