SOUTHFIELD, MI – The majority of private U.S. companies are optimistic about the U.S. economy in 2010, according to a global survey of 7,400 private firms in 36 countries. The survey was conducted in November 2009 by Grant Thornton International Ltd. In the United States, private businesses account for an estimated 100 million jobs, more than 70 percent of U.S. employment.

In the United States, 51 percent of respondents said that they were optimistic about the U.S. economy in 2010, while 31 percent said they were pessimistic. Globally, 51 percent were optimistic about their respective country’s economy, and 27 percent were pessimistic. The three most optimistic countries were Chile, India and Australia; and the three most pessimistic countries were Japan, Spain and Ireland.

By a two-to-one margin, U.S. private businesses plan to increase their work force rather than decrease it (29 percent verses 14 percent), while 56 percent will keep it the same. Globally, 34 percent plan to increase their work force, 14 percent plan to decrease, and 50 percent plan no change. Countries with the greatest planned increases were Vietnam (64 percent), Brazil (63 percent) and India (56 percent); the lowest employment increases were planned in Italy (14 percent), Ireland (15 percent), Germany (15 percent) and France (16 percent).

In the United States, 51 percent believe that their company’s revenues will rise in the coming year.