Private-company CEOs' optimism as they enter 2014 is fueling growth and hiring plans for the year ahead, according to PwC US's latest Private Company Trendsetter Barometer, which found 43 percent of the leaders of private companies surveyed signaling confidence in the world economy, the highest level since the first quarter of 2011.

The survey also found the CEOs projecting 8.5 percent growth for the next 12 months, up from 7 percent a year earlier (fourth quarter 2012) and outpacing forecasts for U.S. GDP growth, which is expected to be roughly 3 percent for 2014.

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