NEW YORK (TheStreet) - Private companies are feeling less confident about the prospects for the U.S. economy, with only 45% of executives surveyed by PricewaterhouseCoopers expressing optimism about the coming 12 months.The drop - down to 45% voicing optimism in the most recent quarter vs 51% in the previous quarter, is the result of lingering economic uncertainty and concern about new taxes and regulations, Ken Esch, a partner with PricewaterhouseCoopers' Private Company Services practice, said in a statement. PricewaterhouseCoopers' Private Company Trendsetter Barometer tracks the views of 250 chief executive officers and chief financial officers in the product and service sectors, with companies averaging $290.8 million in enterprise revenue/sales. "Trendsetter CEOs continue to experience a challenging pricing environment for goods and services due to economic pressure at home and abroad," Esch said. Here are highlights from the survey: --Concern about demand was cited by 78% of respondents compared with 74% in the previous survey. --Concern about increased taxation was cited by 52% compared with 45% previously. --54% plan to add employees to their workforce over the next 12 months; 44% plan no change and 2 % plan to reduce their workforce --29% plan major capital investments over the next 12 months, down from 32% previously. --Written by Glenn Hall in New York. >To contact the writer of this article, click here: Glenn Hall. >To follow the writer on Twitter, go to http://twitter.com/glennhall. >To submit a news tip, send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.