Companies Upbeat About Economy

Sixty percent of U.S. businesses says sales are rising; 39% planning to hire.

Companies are growing more upbeat about the U.S. economy this year and plan to take on more workers as demand improves, a survey showed.

Some 78 percent of businesses, the most in a year, project the world’s largest economy will expand more than 2 percent in 2012, according to the National Association for Business Economics’ April survey released today in Washington. The share is up from 65 percent in the group’s January report.

Thirty-nine percent of all companies surveyed from March 20 to April 10 projected job gains in the next six months. Eleven percent said employment will drop because of attrition, which suggests the labor market outlook may be more optimistic since such declines often occur when an employee is confident about finding another job, the report said.

Profit margins are also improving at more companies, with 40 percent, the most in a year, saying earnings were increasing. In the January survey, 30 percent reported rising margins.

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