An October survey by consulting firm Watson Wyatt found that 54 percent of employers plan to end salary freezes within six months, up from 33 percent in August. Some 49 percent, just shy of a majority, also said they plan to end hiring freezes in the same time frame.

Overall, 56 percent of those surveyed reported that they had enacted both hiring and salary freezes in response to the economic downturn.

Thirty-five percent of the 201 large firms in the survey said they planned to reverse reductions in 401(k) salary matches, while a whopping 96 percent said they had extended job offers in the past three months.

On the down side, one-fifth indicated they would conduct layoffs in the coming months.