Fewer companies in the U.S. are expected to hire new workers as worries over the economy deepen, according to a survey by the National Association for Business Economists.
According to the NABE poll, roughly 85 percent of 70 economic experts surveyed predict the economy will grow only 2 percent from last year.
"Expectations for growth deteriorated quite significantly but the bulk of respondents are not predicting a recession," said Shawn DuBravac, chief economist for the Consumer Electronics Association.
The NABE found that the number of new employees companies plan to hire fell from 42 percent to 30 percent, while the number of companies laying off workers rose.
Also, 13 percent of companies reduced their staff, up from 8 percent in July.
One-fifth of the economists surveyed blame the European debt crisis for hurting sales. Thirty percent of them expect the squeeze to continue into the first quarter of 2012.