Despite signs of a upturn in the German economy, a survey released on Wednesday by a leading business institute revealed that more companies plan on cutting jobs in the near future than on making new hires. Just under 35 percent of German firms anticipate reductions in personnel in the coming year while 50 percent report employee levels remaining where they are currently. Only 17 percent of firms in western Germany and 10 percent of companies in the east looked to hire employees in 2004. At the same time, the survey found that overall business confidence in Germany continues to show distinct improvement, particularly in the west. The survey, carried out by the Cologne-based Institute of the German Economy, is based on the responses of managers at 1,388 companies around the country.