A survey of 200 U.S.-based technology companies shows there is rising optimism in the economic state of the sector and the overall economy.

The Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA), a non-profit trade association representing companies in the information technology sector, polled its members during the last week of August to gauge their confidence in the state of the economy. The survey found that respondents were more confident about the economy overall, but had particular confidence in the state of the technology sector.

Confidence in the IT sector increased 3.3 points to 52.3 (on a 0-100 scale), while confidence in the overall economy stood at 41.3 points, up from 39.1 points when the last survey was taken in July. “The data suggests that companies have begun to reset expectations with an eye towards an improved economic landscape,” CompTIA Vice President of Market Research Tim Herbert said in releasing the report.

Specifically, Herbert pointed to the staffing plans of survey participants. Fifty-three percent of IT companies responding to the survey indicated they expect to hold staffing levels constant over the next six months, while another 29% expect to increase hiring. Also, two-thirds of respondents rated the six-month outlook for the IT industry positively, pointing to further gains in confidence.

A separate report issued this week by technology firm Gartner also lended optimism to the state of the PC manufacturing sector. Gartner said worldwide PC shipments may not fall as much as feared in 2009. Worldwide PC shipments were on track to reach 285 million units for the year, a 2% decline from the 291 million units shipped in 2008. That is an improvement on Gartner’s June forecast, which anticipated PC shipments could slip by as much as 6%.

“PC demand appears be running much stronger than we expected back in June, especially in the U.S. and China,” George Shiffler, research director at Stamford, Conn.-based Gartner, said in a statement. “Mobile PC shipments have regained substantial momentum, especially in emerging markets, and the decline in desk-based PC shipments is slowing down. We think shipments are likely to be growing again in the fourth quarter of 2009 compared to the fourth quarter of 2008.”

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