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Business survey finds increase in hiring

Economists say the U.S. recovery continued during the second quarter of this year with more businesses hiring workers and fewer cutting jobs, but the pace of growth has slowed, a new survey shows.

The National Association for Business Economics said its latest survey, released yesterday, found 31 percent of businesses added workers between April and June, the highest level in three years.

And 39 percent of those surveyed say they expect to hire more workers over the next six months - the most since January 2008.

Manufacturers reported the strongest increase in demand and profitability. Finance, insurance and real estate sectors saw the slowest growth. The number of respondents who think real gross domestic product will expand by more than 3 percent this year slid to 20 percent from the 24 percent who expected that rate of growth in April. But 67 percent of respondents still believe the economy will expand by more than 2 percent in 2010.

"NABE's July 2010 Industry Survey confirms that the U.S. recovery continued through the second quarter, although at a slower pace than earlier in the year," said William Strauss, of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. "Industry demand increased for a fourth consecutive quarter, although at a slower pace. Price and cost pressures were contained, allowing profits to edge higher. Credit and debt issues in Europe will likely negatively impact just over a third of the surveyed firms over the next three months."

The number of companies reporting layoffs and job cuts through attrition is down by half from a year ago and about steady with the first quarter of this year, NABE found. Meanwhile, the number of businesses hiring jumped to 31 percent from 6 percent at the same time last year, and is up from 22 percent of those surveyed at the end of the first quarter. Goods-producing companies are doing most of the hiring, with only the services sector still anticipating layoffs, the survey said. The service sector remains a victim of weak consumer confidence. The NABE survey was taken between June 11 and June 29. - AP

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