Fewer U.S. CEOs Plan to Hire, Boost Spending

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By CHRISTOPHER S. RUGABER, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — A survey of chief executives shows fewer large U.S. companies plan to hire or boost spending in the next six months, reflecting a weaker U.S. economy.

The Business Roundtable says 36 percent of its CEO members plan to add workers over the next six months. That's down from 42 percent when the survey was last taken three months ago.

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Only 43 percent say they plan to step up spending on machinery, computers and other large goods, down from 48 percent. Most CEOs still expect sales to increase in the next six months.

The gloomier outlook follows a sharp pullback in hiring over the past two months, which has raised concerns that the economy could be slumping after a fast start.

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