Most executives in the Seattle/Tacoma area are optimistic about their business prospects for the fourth quarter. Nine in 10 CFOs expressed confidence in their companies' growth potential for the quarter, with 46 percent saying they are very confident, according to the Seattle Professional Employment Forecast from Robert Half.

The report found 17 percent of CFOs in the area expect to add new professional-level positions in the fourth quarter. Thirteen percent of respondents will not be hiring, even to fill an open position, and 3 percent plan to reduce staff levels. Another 67 percent said they will hire for roles that open during the next three months.

The survey suggests, however, that organizations looking to expand and add staff may face difficulties. The majority of CFOs surveyed, 62 percent, said it is at least somewhat challenging to find skilled candidates for professional-level positions today.

“As the local economy continues to improve, companies in the Seattle/Tacoma area remain optimistic about hiring,” said Josh Warborg, district president for Robert Half in Seattle. “In particular, businesses in the midst of financial and healthcare planning for the coming year are increasingly competing for candidates with specialized skill sets.”