According to an article in USA Today, businesses have taken the reigns from U.S. consumers to lead the economy in 2006. CEOs are expected to invest heavily in everything from productivity-enhancing equipment to new office buildings and retail space.

Experts say the switch will mean the U.S. economy will be in a healthy position throughout the year.

According to reports, in a survey of 117 CEOs of major companies taken Nov. 21-Dec. 8, 56 percent said they expected to increase business investment in the next six months, according to the Business Roundtable. That's the second-highest percentage in the survey's three-year history and is up from 50 percent a year ago and 35 percent in December 2003.

Even manufacturers, who were the hardest hit in the most recent economic slowdown, are getting in the game. Some 43 percent of manufacturers surveyed by the Institute for Supply Management in December said they planned to increase their investment in 2006. Of those who projected an increase, they expected an average 34.5 percent gain in spending.

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