Nearly one-quarter of executives expect double-dip recession

Despite the country officially emerging from the last recession, the poll found that fewer executives expect their companies to outperform expectations next year, from 49 percent in 2009 to 41 percent.  

Findings by KPMG come as a new poll by Harris Interactive shows that 51 percent of employees in the third quarter of 2010 were told to expect layoffs, up 4 percent from the last quarter. More than one in five (22 percent) reported their company reduced their health and/or dental benefits.

After five quarters of declines, layoff concerns rose in the third quarter to levels not seen since the fourth quarter of 2009, the Harris poll found. 

"One in five employees (20 percent) are concerned they could be laid off in the next six months, up from 16 percent in the second quarter," according to the poll's findings. "More employees are also concerned their co-workers will lose their jobs in the next six months, [and] one-third (33 percent) have fears their counterparts could be laid off, up from 31 percent last quarter."

A new poll by PNC Economic Outlook also found pessimism on the economy, with 60 percent of small businesses choosing to delay hiring decisions until the marketplace improves. One in 10 owners has hired or plans to hire workers because of the tax credit offered by the HIRE Act.

"Until we see a solid pattern of small-business hiring and investments re-established, the economic recovery will be a bumpy road," said Stuart Hoffman, PNC chief economist, in prepared remarks. "These findings support PNC's view that the economy will remain transitional for the rest of 2010 and into the first half of 2011, with weak but persistent 'half-speed' real GDP and jobs gains."