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Most senior finance executives at U.S. businesses believe the United States will be in an economic recession by the end of 2020, and 76 percent predict a recession by mid-2021, according to fourth-quarter results from the Duke University/CFO Global Business Outlook.

But, even with a recession on the horizon, U.S. CFOs lead the world in terms of their optimism about the general business environment.

At the company level, they say their organizations are taking steps to mitigate the effects of a recession by increasing their cash holdings. “Hoarding cash and reducing debt are the most obvious tactics to dull the blow of a recession,” says Campbell Harvey, professor at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business.


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