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Poll: Hiring will pick up, growth slow in 2nd half

NEW YORK — Economists increasingly see hiring picking up through the rest of 2011, even as they predict slower overall growth.

The National Association for Business Economists quarterly survey found 43 percent of respondents say their firms will likely increase employment in the next six months, the highest number in a year. None planned significant layoffs.

The manufacturing sector has the strongest outlook.

Still, 49 percent don’t expect any change in their company’s hiring, which may play into their view that economic growth is slowing.

NABE says 76 percent expect gross domestic product to grow 2 percent or more, down from 94 percent in April. Meanwhile 23 percent expect growth of 2 percent or below, from 5 percent in April.

Global uncertainties, including the disasters in Japan, play a major role in expectations.