Surveys show rising executive optimism

March 27, 1992|By Knight-Ridder News Service

WASHINGTON -- Business leaders are increasingly confident that the economy has shaken off recession and is entering a mild recovery, according to a new Conference Board survey to be announced today.

The optimism of top corporate executives surged from January through early March, rebounding from a slide during the final three months of 1991, an index compiled by the New York-based business research center found.

"I think we're at a turning point right now," said Joseph W. Duncan, vice president and chief economist of Dun & Bradstreet, which issued a similar survey of business executives Wednesday.

Rising executive optimism reflects increased orders, he said, adding, "It's a very reliable indicator of the short-term outlook."

Preliminary March reports from the University of Michigan's Survey Research Center indicate that consumer confidence also rebounding.

The surveys suggest that psychological attitudes about the economic outlook are improving. Confidence is critical to sustain the recent string of reports showing solid gains in retail sales, housing starts and industrial production, analysts contend.

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