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Survey: US companies to step up hiring as outlook for economic growth improves

Companies are increasingly confident the economy will grow at a modest pace over the next year and are hiring more, according to a survey of business economists.

Nearly one-third of the economists surveyed by the National Association for Business Economics said their companies added jobs in the April-June quarter. That's the highest percentage in nearly two years. And 39 percent expect to hire more in the next six months. That's near a two-year high reached in the January-March quarter.

The hiring pickup occurred even though sales and profit growth has slowed.

But optimism about future economic growth increased. Nearly three-quarters of the survey respondents forecast growth of 2.1 percent or more over the next year. That's up from two-thirds in the previous survey and the most in a year.

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