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Latest Survey of CFOs Confirms That Surveys of CFOs are Bunk

Less than two weeks ago, we shared with you the latest results from Grant Thornton’s National CFO Survey.

What we learned is what we already knew, which is that the job market sucks and will continue sucking if we are to believe the 516 CFOs surveyed from October 5th to October 15th:

In a national survey of U.S. Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) and senior comptrollers conducted by Grant Thornton LLP, the U.S. member firm of Grant Thornton International Ltd, only 29% plan to increase hiring in the next six months, while 21% plan to decrease hiring.

Not so good, huh? Well fortunately for all of you looking for a job out there, the GT methodology is severely flawed for two reasons: 1) It included the extra-super-tragic days of October 5th and October 15th when CFOs were feeling especially negative and 2) They survey far too many CFOs.

Had they performed their survey on October 6th through the 14th like FEI and Baruch College and kept cut their population by roughly half (FEI/Baruch interviewed 249 CFOs), they would have discovered that things aren’t really that bad at all:

While CFOs this quarter continue to forecast high unemployment nationwide (on average predicting at least nine percent through October 2011), hiring prospects at their own companies paint a rosier picture. More than half (56%) plan to hire additional employees within the next six months, and overall they anticipate a four percent increase in hiring over the next six months.

So obviously Grant Thornton just needs to tweak their methodology a bit and then we’ll all be on the same page.

Until that happens, feel free to get some of your hapless friends together and start asking CFOs for their broad-based economic outlook. It appears that as long as you have a shell of a methodology and manage to get at least 250 responses, it’s perfectly acceptable to share the findings with everyone and claim that things are turning around.