CEOs are growing more optimistic as the economy continues to improve, according to a new report from Vistage International Inc., a San Diego-based national CEO peer advisory membership organization.

“The underlying strength in the economy has begun to shift the attention of CEOs from uncertainty about federal policies to the more traditional concerns of small firms centered on revenue growth, controlling costs, and staffing,” the report said.

The Vistage CEO Confidence Index surveyed about 1,500 CEOs across the country for their views following the first quarter of 2013.

That said, the report found that CEOs believe the recent sequester will be a drag on economic growth, with eight out of 10 firms expecting continued uncertainty about federal policies during the year ahead.

About 52 percent of CEOs planned to add to their company’s payrolls in the first quarter, up from 45 percent in the prior quarter. Only eight percent planned to reduce their staff counts, the report found.

Two thirds of the firms expected their revenues to grow in 2013 compared with 2012, and profits were expected to increase by an average of 53 percent. At the like time last year, CEOs who were surveyed expected a 60 percent revenue growth.

— SDBJ Staff Report