Predictions for an improved economy remain low, yet the majority of business leaders participating in the semi-annual Grant Thornton Business Optimism Index plan to continue hiring over the next six months.
 
A majority of U.S. business leaders -- 84 percent -- reported optimism when it comes to the growth of their own business, but only 30 percent said that they believe the overall economy will improve within the next six months, consistent with predictions made in June 2006. 
 
Fewer business leaders, however, say the economy will continue to get worse  -- 15 percent, compared to 20 percent in June 2006. Instead, leader said that the economy is more likely to say things will remain the same, and more than half (53 percent) said that they plan to increase the headcount at their own company.

As a result of respondents’ slight increase in optimism for the economy and hiring predictions, the index, a semi-annual confidence measure among U.S. business leaders -- rebounded slightly from 62.8 in June 2006, but still remains low at 64.1. Market research firm Harris Interactive conducted telephone interviews between Nov. 5 and Dec. 20, 2006, getting responses from more than 300 senior executives at companies with annual revenues between $50 million and $2 billion.

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