It doesn't quite feel like the economy fell off the cliff again—more like it slipped into a big hole.

Bellwether CFOs once again spy rough terrain ahead, according to the latest CFO Outlook Survey from Financial Executives International and Baruch College's Zicklin School of Business, released in mid-August. More than half (55%) of the 228 U.S. and European CFOs polled now project that the U.S. economic recovery will begin in the second half of 2012 or later. Slightly positive: 97% say the price of oil will stay below $140 a barrel for the next six months, as compared to 70% who said it would go higher in the last quarterly survey.

Responding to the increase in cyber attacks on multinationals, 61% of U.S. CFOs, and 55% of Europeans, are allocating more funds to data security or plan to. Unemployment rates are expected to remain high, but 57% of U.S. CFOs say they do plan to hire in the next six months, while 52% of the European CFOs say they don't.

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