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Survey: Many Americans ready for job change

A majority of Americans plan to seek new jobs in the coming year, but most indicate their decisions are tied to an improving economy.

In the Washington metropolitan region, companies are in the process of planning to add staff in the coming months, said Paul Villella, president of HireStrategy, a Reston-based professional staffing firm. HireStrategy meets annually with its client companies to discuss their staffing needs. In 2002 and 2003, he described those meetings as "abysmal."

"There has been a lot of downsizing the last few years. Now that there is true growth, companies feel the pressure to hire," he said. "Also, the people who remained employed were forced to wear multiple hats. As a result of the experience they gained, a lot of employees are now ready to move."

Nationally, a pair of online surveys conducted in January by America Online and TrueCareers found more than half of Americans plan to change jobs within the next year. The AOL study found 58 …