CEOs upbeat about economy, survey finds

A recent survey of 120 CEOs from across a wide range of industries found that almost 50% believe economic conditions are improving, up from just 2% three months ago, according to The Conference Board. The New York City-based economic organization conducts a "Measure of Business Confidence" survey every quarter to gauge economic outlook of CEOs. In the survey for the first quarter of 2002, the measure of confidence increased to 66, up from 40 in the fourth quarter of 2001. A reading of more than 50 points indicates more positive than negative responses, The Conference Board said. The survey also found nearly 50% of CEOs said current economic conditions are better than they were six months ago. Only 22% reported they are worse. In the fourth quarter of 2001, less than 2% said conditions were better and 94% claimed they were worse. The CEOs surveyed also reported an improved outlook for the next six months. Nearly 80% expect economic conditions to improve in the coming months, while only 3% expect conditions to worsen. Last quarter, less than 42% felt conditions would improve, while almost 32% expected conditions to worsen.

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