The proportion of CFOs who expect to increase their workforce and undertake major new capital investments is up.

Buoyed by growing optimism about the economy, large companies are in an expansive mood, according to a PricewaterhouseCoopers survey of more than 160 CFOs and managing directors at U.S.-based multinationals.

Fifty-six percent of respondents in the study, conducted in the second quarter of 2004, said their organization is planning net additions to its workforce over the next 12 months, up from 35 percent in the second quarter of 2003. And 55 percent reported that their organization is planning major new capital investments, up from 41 percent in the second quarter of 2003.

"Despite higher oil prices and the unsettled situation in the Middle East, executives expressed confidence about the continued strength of the economy and their company's ability to grow at a healthy pace," says Frank Brown, global leader of PricewaterhouseCoopers' advisory practice in New York City. "Most are forecasting increases in both hiring and new investments to sustain revenue growth in the months ahead." -- JC