WASHINGTON (AP) — A growing number of chief executives at large U.S. companies say they are more optimistic about the economy and plan to step up hiring. The brighter view from the boardroom comes after the best three months of job growth in two years.

The Business Roundtable said Wednesday that a survey of its CEO members found that 42 percent expect to hire over the next six months. That's up from 35 percent three months ago.

Nearly half plan to spend more on machinery and other capital equipment and more than 80 percent expect their sales to rise. Both those figures are much higher than three months ago.

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