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BUSINESS CONFIDENCE DROPS IN APRIL; LOWEST SINCE OCTOBER

 WASHINGTON, May 10 /PRNewswire/ -- Business confidence dropped in April to its lowest level since October just before the election, according to the latest bimonthly U.S. Chamber of Commerce Business Confidence Index.
 The April index was 59.3, based on 11,355 responses, down from 62.4 in both February and December. The Business Confidence Index is an average of three separate indexes reflecting the respondents' outlook for the economy, business sales and employment prospects over the next six months, all three of which were down in April.
 The business community's optimism about where the economy is headed dropped from an index of 63.9 in February to 58.7 in April. Just 42.2 percent of those taking part in the survey expect the economy to improve, compared to 45 percent in February. Those expecting things to get worse were up from 17.2 percent to 24.8 percent.
 The index for sales dropped from 67.2 to 63.9, with 45.9 percent expecting growth and 18.2 percent expecting a decline.
 The index based on the expectation of employment growth dropped from 56.1 in February to 55.4, with 24.2 percent expecting to hire and 13.4 percent expecting to lay off workers.
 "While the expansion remains intact, the decline in the index is a clear indication that the rate of economic growth has slowed markedly from its pace at the end of last year," said Martin A. Regalla, Chamber vice president and chief economist.
 The Business Confidence Index is based on The Business Ballot, a readership poll mailed six times a year with the Business Advocate, the bimonthly supplement to Nation's Business magazine.
 The indexes are derived by adding the "up" responses to half the "no change" responses.
 U.S. CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
 Business Confidence Index
 (From June 1991 When Bimonthly Indexes Started)
 (Earlier Indexes Were 39.5 in May 1990 and 36.3 in Feb. 1991)
 JUN 91 AUG 91 OCT 91 DEC 91 FEB 92
 Business
 Confidence
 Index 59.4 55.9 45.4 39.3 59.1
 Economy
 Up 45.8 pct 39.4 pct 23.6 pct 17.6 pct 47.4 pct
 Down 23.5 25.9 32.3 45.3 16.8
 Same 30.7 34.7 44.0 37.1 35.8
 Index 61.2 56.8 45.6 36.2 65.3
 Sales:
 Up 47.3 pct 43.5 pct 29.6 pct 23.6 pct 41.5 pct
 Down 21.6 22.9 36.3 40.4 22.2
 Same 30.5 33.6 34.1 35.7 36.3
 Index 62.6 60.3 46.7 41.5 59.7
 Employment:
 Up 23.1 pct 18.5 pct 13.2 pct 11.2 pct 20.1 pct
 Down 14.3 17.3 25.6 30.7 15.8
 Same 62.6 64.1 61.2 58.1 64.1
 Index 54.4 50.6 43.8 40.3 52.2
 Respondents: 6,389 8,973 8,549 8,044 7,924
 U.S. Chamber of Commerce Business Confidence Index (Cont.)
 APR 92 JUN 92 AUG 92 OCT 92
 Business
 Confidence
 Index 63.3 64.2 58.0 53.3
 Economy
 Up 53.9 pct 54.4 pct 37.7 pct 32.4 pct
 Down 13.1 12.6 24.4 26.1
 Same 33.0 33.0 37.9 41.5
 Index 70.4 70.9 56.7 53.2
 Sales:
 Up 48.8 pct 49.8 pct 48.7 pct 36.6 pct
 Down 18.5 17.0 21.2 24.2
 Same 32.6 33.2 30.1 39.2
 Index 65.1 66.4 63.8 56.2
 Employment:
 Up 22.7 pct 23.5 pct 24.1 pct 18.5 pct
 Down 13.8 12.9 17.2 17.4
 Same 63.5 63.6 58.7 64.1
 Index 54.5 55.3 53.5 50.6
 Respondents: 7,446 8,328 5,515 8,191
 U.S. Chamber of Commerce Business Confidence Index (Cont.)
 DEC 92 FEB 93 APR 93
 Business
 Confidence
 Index 62.4 62.4 59.3
 Economy
 Up 52.5 pct 45.0 pct 42.2 pct
 Down 13.2 17.2 24.8
 Same 34.3 37.8 33.0
 Index 69.7 63.9 58.7
 Sales:
 Up 43.9 pct 48.5 pct 45.9 pct
 Down 16.0 14.3 18.2
 Same 40.1 37.3 35.9
 Index 64.0 67.2 63.9
 Employment:
 Up 19.6 pct 23.4 pct 24.2 pct
 Down 12.7 11.2 13.4
 Same 67.7 65.4 62.4
 Index 53.5 56.1 55.4
 Respondents: 10,256 12,217 11,355
 -0- 5/10/93
 /NOTE: More details are available. Regalla is available for interviews./
 /CONTACT: Thomas Love of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, 202-463-5682/


CO: U.S. Chamber of Commerce ST: District of Columbia IN: SU: ECO

MH-TW -- DC024 -- 6523 05/10/93 13:02 EDT
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