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Is the Downturn Looking Up?

It might feel like America is gloomy about the economy, but we're positively cheerful compared to other places. The latest McKinsey survey on economic conditions (registration required) canvassing more than 2,000 executives, found that executives in North American were more positive about the economy than executives elsewhere.

The report also noted that the majority of North American executives interviewed think the economy will be stable in the next six months to a year -- a possible sign that they think we've gone through the worst of the downturn.

Which is not to say that North Americans are happy. Only 13 percent of all companies surveyed by McKinsey say they expect to make new strategic moves in 2009, and won't cut capital expenditures. The majority of that 13 percent are in North America.

Here's the bad news:

  • 69 percent of executives said profits fell in the last six months -- China being the hardest hit, the Euro zone the least affected.
  • The most commonly cited strategic responses to the downturn were conserving cash and spending less.
  • More than half surveyed say they expect profits to fall in 2009.
  • A majority expect deflation in their countries in the first quarter of 2009.
  • In the last month, the number of companies expecting to cut jobs in 2009 went from 35 percent to 44 percent.
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