More than one in three firms surveyed expect their firms to hire more workers in the next half year, according to the National Association for Business Economics.

The increase to 37% from 29% in the previous survey, coincided with a doubling to 22% from 11% in the number of companies reporting they increased payrolls, while only 13% reported cutting jobs, compared to 28% in the January survey.

Job creation increased for the first time in two years, according to the NABE ­survey.

Economic growth expectations improved significantly, with all NABE panelists saying business decisions are being made based on expectations for positive economic growth, as measured by real gross domestic product, in 2010. One in four or 24% of respondents believe real GDP will expand by more than 3%, and 70% of respondents believe the economy will expand by more than 2% in 2010.

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