CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Chief financial officers are much more optimistic about hiring additional workers in 2011, a new survey from Bank of America Merrill Lynch reports.

“Despite the challenging economic climate, many CFOs have growing confidence that their companies have weathered the worst of the storm and are poised for expansion,” said Laura Whitley, the Global Commercial Products exec at the Charlotte-based bank.

While other surveys have been cool about hiring (Finance execs here, Manpower here, Robert Half here,) the Bank of America Merrill Lynch survey found that 47 percent of the executives who participated in the questioning say their companies have plans to hire more workers.

A year ago, 28 percent of CFOs surveyed said they had hiring plans.

The number of firms expected to make layoffs declined in the new survey to 6 percent from 9 percent a year ago.

Plus, 64 percent of CFOs expect revenue to increase in 2011. A year ago, 61 percent expected growth.

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