The outlook for U.S. business and economic growth is brightening, say the nation’s CFOs.

In a recent survey of 303 finance executives, 57% reported feeling more optimistic than last year about the 12-month outlook for their companies’ business performance, and 46% reported being more upbeat about U.S. economic growth over the next year. That’s the highest level of optimism since the height of the recession of 2008 and 2009, according to the survey from TD Bank. 

The majority of the executives polled (71%) expect sales to increase over the next year, and almost half (48%) plan to increase capital expenditures over the next 12 months. More than six in 10 (66%) reported having at least a modest stockpile of corporate cash saved, with 26% of those prepared to spend from the cash funds this year.

“Business executives have grown more willing to invest, albeit cautiously, over the last year and our survey results support this trend continuing through 2013,” Greg Braca, head of Corporate & Specialty Banking at TD Bank, said in a statement. “Despite remaining policy and regulatory concerns at the macro level, CFOs seem poised to drive expansion and investment with capital accumulated since the downturn.”

The survey polled 303 finance executives, including CFOs, comptrollers, treasurers and directors of finance, in November and December 2012. Half of them were at companies with annual sales of $50 million to $500 million and half were at companies with sales greater than $500 million.

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