Economists Expect Greater Growth, Stronger Hiring

34% Of Companies Expect To Expand Payrolls In Next 6 Months

Economists Expect Greater Growth, Stronger HiringHiring is expected to pick up in the months ahead in the United States, while analysts are more optimistic about overall economic growth in 2013, a survey released Monday declared. Prepared by the National Association for Business Economists (NABE), the quarterly survey shows that half of polled economists believe that the value of all goods and services produced by the United States – "gross domestic product" – will increase between 2% and 4% this year. In the final quarter of 2012, only 36% of economists who responded to the survey anticipated such growth.

Conducted between December 20 and January 8, the survey found that 34% of companies – the highest percentage in nearly a year – expect to expand their payrolls in the next six months. Only 2% anticipate that they'll cut positions through layoff, while about 14% of firms expect their roster of employees will be trimmed through attrition.

According to NABE, a quarter of survey respondents reported that positions were added at their firms in the fourth quarter of 2012. Wages were also up at a quarter of responding companies – a rise of 10 percentage points over the number of firms reporting wage increases in the previous quarterly survey.

While growth in sales held steady overall in the final quarter of 2012, particular results varied by industry, according to the survey. Utilities, transportation, information, and communications experienced increases, but sales slowed in the finance, services, real estate, and insurance sectors. About 25% of companies said that profit margins increased in the fourth quarter, while 18% reported a decline, the survey found.