A clear majority of respondents (78 percent) also believe that the economic recovery might take up to two years to materialize and say the surest sign of a lasting upturn will be falling unemployment (46 percent), sustained growth in their own organization's sales (21 percent) and an influx of new customers buying their products and services (9 percent).
Improvements in the real estate market, access to credit, and the stock market would also indicate a sustainable rebound.
"Executives have a cautiously optimistic outlook on the near future, with 58 percent saying their sales will increase next year, including a quarter who expect them to increase by 10 percent or more," the poll states.
Most respondents expect that the road to recovery will be bumpy, with 46 percent saying the most likely constraint on capital investments will be cash flow. Thirteen percent say the political climate, including government regulations and policies, could add to the turbulence.