Report: Larger firms more positive on economic growth

"Private businesses and private capital providers, a major influence in the U.S. economy, are not as optimistic as some Fed officials," said John Paglia, lead researcher of the Private Capital Markets Project and associate professor of finance at Pepperdine. "I would love to see stronger GDP numbers but fear private businesses, lenders, and investors, who are looking at their business in real-time, are probably a more accurate gauge."

The study also found that U.S.-based companies are more optimistic of the overall economy suggesting growth of 2.06 percent this year. 

The report comes ahead of data set to be released by the Commerce Department on Jan. 28. 

Federal Reserve officials have said recently they expect growth in 2011 could be as high as 4 percent.

On Friday, Jeffrey Lacker, the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond suggested a growth rate between 3.5 percent to 4 percent this year.

In the Pepperdine survey, 35 percent said the largest hurdle to economic growth was the uncertain economic environment and low demand, followed by government regulations (25.9%) and limited access to capital (22.7%). 

However, privately-held businesses indicated that limited access to capital (31.5%) was the largest impediment to an expansion.