Wednesday, December 17, 2008

How Low Can We Go?

Go ahead and ask anybody who has lost a third to a half of their retirement nest egg or college fund in the last six months and they'll tell you things are bad. But what do the professional money guys think?

The CFO Survey, a 12-year-old collaborative effort of the Fuqua School of Business and CFO Magazine, has been doing just that. And the bottom line from the latest quarterly data is not encouraging at all. The pros are as pessimistic as everyone else!

The survey asks chief financial officers to crystal-ball their employment, spending, earnings, tech investment and a host of other bellwether measurements. On average, they expect capital spending to fall by 10 percent in the coming year; tech spending to drop 4 percent; and marketing and advertising spending to drop by 7 percent. In short, we apparently haven't hit bottom yet.

CFO Optimism Index: Key Measures

(Click on the Swivel button to see more data and do your own data mashups!)