But most saw the job situation staying about the same, the National Association for Business Economics survey showed.
Sixty percent of respondents said they expected real gross domestic product to top 2 percent growth from last year's fourth quarter to this year's -- 44 percentage points more than in October, when 16 percent said real GDP growth would beat 2 percent growth for the same period, NABE said.
In the current survey, 28 percent suggested real GDP would grow 1.1 percent to 2 percent, compared with 70 percent who held this view in the previous survey.
In both the current and previous survey, very few respondents said they expected real GDP growth above 3 percent, NABE said.
GDP is the total value of U.S. goods and services, whether they are produced by a U.S. company or a foreign company operating in the United States. It is the single most comprehensive indicator of an economy's health.
The U.S. Commerce Department said last month real GDP from the second quarter to the third quarter increased at an annual rate of 1.8 percent. Between the first and second quarters, real GDP increased 1.3 percent, the department said.
Fourth-quarter figures are to be released in March.
Regarding employment, 27 percent said they expected employment to rise, compared with October's 29 percent, while 64 percent said they saw employment staying the same, a 5-point jump from October's 59 percent.
Eight percent said they expected employment to drop, compared with October's 12 percent.
Survey respondents are NABE members who work for private-sector companies and industry trade associations. They are involved in goods-producing industries, transportation, utilities, information, communications, finance, insurance, real estate and services.