Despite uncertainty in Washington and rising oil prices and interest rates, companies are upbeat on the prospects for economic growth in the next year, according to a quarterly survey of business economists.
But economists surveyed by the National Association for Business Economics weren't as optimistic about hiring, according to the survey released Monday. Only 27 percent reported rising employment at their firms from July through September, down from 29 percent in the second quarter. And 37 percent expected their companies to expand payrolls in the next six months, down from 39 percent in the second quarter.
The slower hiring occurred even as sales and profit margins grew during the third quarter, according to the survey.
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Still, optimism about future economic growth remained strong last quarter. Almost 70 percent of the economists in the survey predicted gross domestic product growth of 2-to-3 percent, with another 19 percent expecting growth of 1-to-2 percent. The figures are nearly identical to those from the second-quarter survey, released in July.