Confidence among Japan's big manufacturers hit its highest level in more than three years in the June quarter, a closely-watched central bank survey showed on July 3, adding to signs that the recovery in the world's third largest economy is gaining pace. Big firms also saw the job market at its tightest in 25 years, offering policymakers some hope that companies may finally raise wages, helping broaden an economic recovery. The survey underscores the Bank of Japan's view that the economy is heading for a moderate expansion, though sources say weak price and wage pressures are likely to force it to slash its inflation forecasts later this month. An index measuring job conditions showed big firms saw the labor market at the tightest since 1992, reinforcing views that a shortage of employees was among the key concerns for many companies. Japanese companies plan to increase hiring of new graduates by 8.1 percent in the next fiscal year beginning in April 2018.