Business executives pessimistic about the economy

The executives were evenly divided on the amount of economic growth they expected for the rest of the year, with half predicting between 2.1 percent and 3 percent — down from the 70 percent in February who expected that amount of growth. The other half, about 46 percent, are expecting between 0.1 percent and 2.0 percent growth, up 31 percentage points since the last survey.

The results of the survey don't indicate that the nation is headed for a double-dip recession, but executives expect growth to remain slow into the first half of 2011. Slow improvement also is expected in the unemployment rate, which stands at 9.6 percent now, and could remain above 9 percent through the first six months of next year, executives said.

Less than one-third of executives — 31 percent — said they are hiring, an increase of 17 percent from the May survey. 

About 70 percent of the CEOs said they “believe that deficit reduction is the most important fiscal policy priority and most disagree that a second economic stimulus is needed.”

Also, about 90 percent said increased government regulation and intervention presented a “high” or “very high” risk to the business environment.