Chief executive officers had more optimistic expectations for gains by their own companies but less favorable views about the overall economic environment in the most recent Vistage CEO Confidence Index Survey for the third quarter.

In the survey taken before the federal government shutdown that began Oct. 1, the index was 97.9, just above the 96.7 in the second quarter of this year, but substantially above the 89 recorded in last year’s third quarter.

While most CEOs said they had greater confidence in their own businesses’ prospects, two-thirds said their companies would suffer from the burden of increasing federal debt.

Seven in 10 CEOs would prefer legislation that balanced increases in the debt ceiling with reductions in federal spending, the survey found.

In terms of hiring, 54 percent said they planned to expand their payrolls during this year, up from 52 percent in the second quarter and 49 percent a year ago.

The survey found 71 percent of the CEOs said their companies would generate higher revenue this year, up from 68 percent in the prior quarter, and 66 percent from a year ago.

Only 5 percent said their companies’ revenue would decline, barely above the all-time low of 4 percent expressing declining sales in 2006.

— Mike Allen