WASHINGTON (Reuters) — Few United States companies plan to step up hiring in the next six months although they do expect the economy to be a bit stronger this year, according to a recent poll.
The National Association for Business Economics' industry survey found that two-thirds of respondents expected no change in employment at their companies over the first half of the year. That was the highest share in recent quarters.
Although the U.S. jobless rate fell to a near three-year low of 8.5 per cent in December, fewer businesses said they would hire more workers, compared with the previous industry poll.
The survey, which was conducted between Dec. 15 2011, and Jan. 5 2012, found that 65 per cent of respondents expect gross domestic product growth to exceed two per cent between the fourth quarter of last year and the last quarter of 2012.
That was higher than the 1.6 per cent growth rate economists polled by Reuters found.
About two-thirds of the companies surveyed said the European debt crisis would have little impact on their sales over the first half the year, while 27 per cent of respondents said they expected to see a decline in sales of 10 per cent or less.
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