Q: Generally speaking, how would you rate the overall economy last year in the greater Washington area?

Excellent: 43 percent

Good: 52 percent

Fair: 2 percent

Don't know or no answer: 3 percent

Q: Do you think that 1988 will be a better year or worse year for the economy in the Washington area than 1987 was?

Better: 22 percent

Worse: 27 percent

Same: 49 percent

Don't know: 2 percent

Q: Do you think the Washington area is more vulnerable or less vulnerable to a recession than other urban areas of the country?

As vulnerable: 3 percent

Less vulnerable: 97 percent

Q: Considering everything, do you think 1988 is a good time or a bad time to expand business?

Good time: 76 percent

Bad time: 18 percent

No plans to expand: 2 percent

Don't know: 4 percent

Q: In your opinion, what is the most important problem facing the Washington economy in 1988?

Federal deficit: 22 percent

Labor shortages: 11 percent

The upcoming election: 11 percent

Traffic, transportation 10 percent

Growth of the national economy: 6 percent

Consumer confidence: 5 percent

Overbuilt office space: 5 percent

Q: In your opinion, what is the most important problem facing the national economy in 1988?

Federal deficit: 56 percent

Trade deficit: 21 percent

Consumer confidence: 6 percent

Congressional confidence: 5 percent

Q: Do you think 1988 will be a better year or a worse year for your company than 1987 was?

Better: 81 percent

Worse: 8 percent

Same: 10 percent

Don't know: 2 percent

Q: In 1988, does your company plan to increase or decrease the number of fulltime workers it employs in the greater Washington area?

Increase employment: 62 percent

Decrease employment: 6 percent

Neither: 30 percent

No answer: 2 percent

Q: How much does your company plan to increase salaries this year?

By 3 percent: 3 percent

By 4 percent: 22 percent

By 5 percent: 40 percent

By 6 percent: 12 percent

By 7 percent: 2 percent

By 8 percent: 7 percent

By 10 percent or more: 2 percent

Don't know or no answer: 13 percent

Q: Do you expect your company to be more profitable or less profitable in 1988 than it was last year?

More profitable: 79 percent

Less profitable: 6 percent

About the same: 11 percent

Don't know: 4 percent

Q: What percentage increase in profits do you expect this year compared to last?

5-10 percent: 8 percent

11-20 percent: 30 percent

21-30 percent: 20 percent

31-40 percent: 4 percent

41 percent or more: 6 percent

Don't know: 32 percent

Q: Has the decline in the stock market in recent months had a big impact, a small impact or no real impact on your business?

Big impact: 10 percent

Small impact: 25 percent

No impact: 64 percent

No answer: 2 percent

Poll results are based on a survey conducted last week by The Washington Post among top executives of 63 of the largest corporations in the Washington area. Results may not add to 100 percent because of rounding.