Top chief executives still expect the U.S. economy to remain mired in recession through 2009 but their confidence in the likelihood of a recovery next year is on the rebound thanks to growing optimism about their own businesses.

Eighty-four percent of CEOs polled by the Business Council expect the second half of 2009 to be marked by declining or sharply declining economic activity, according to the group's survey released Tuesday.

But only 17.6 percent expect business conditions in their own industry to deteriorate over the next six months, down from 53.5 percent in January.

Dim as it might appear right now, Business Council members may finally see some light at the end of the recessionary tunnel, Jamie Dimon, the chief executive and chairman of JPMorgan Chase & Co , said in a statement.

While there are clearly challenging and difficult times still ahead ... the bottom may have been reached.

(Reporting by James Kelleher, editing by Matthew Lewis)