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GROWTH COMPANY CEOs LOSING OPTIMISM IN U.S. ECONOMY COOPERS & LYBRAND 'TRENDSETTER BAROMETER' FINDS

 GROWTH COMPANY CEOs LOSING OPTIMISM IN U.S. ECONOMY
 COOPERS & LYBRAND 'TRENDSETTER BAROMETER' FINDS
 NEW YORK, Jan. 17 /PRNewswire/ -- In a dramatic plunge from the third quarter, three out of five chief executive officers of America's fastest growing companies are not optimistic about the direction of the U.S. economy, a complete turn around from figures released just three months ago, according Coopers & Lybrand's quarterly "Trendsetter Barometer."
 And outright pessimism about the economy over the next twelve months has nearly doubled among these high growth CEOs.
 Among the 210 CEOs who regularly participate in the Coopers & Lybrand survey, only 42 percent said they are "optimistic" about the U.S. economy's prospects over the next year, down steeply from 64 percent in the previous survey conducted during the third quarter of 1991.
 Thirty-nine percent now say the economy is "uncertain," up from 26 percent who held this view three months earlier; and those saying they are "pessimistic" about the coming year jumped to 19 percent from a mere 10 percent in the last survey, according to Coopers & Lybrand.
 "As the recession winds on, CEOs, even of companies enjoying rapid growth, are becoming alarmed at the lack of consumer confidence," says Daniel J. O'Brien, national director of Emerging Business Services at Coopers & Lybrand. "Consumer confidence, clearly needs to be turned around to put the country back on a growth track."
 The CEOs' loss of optimism in future economic conditions is underscored by their plans for hiring and investments in their businesses.
 These high-flying companies are scaling back on their plans to increase employment. In the last survey, these CEOs said they planned to increase employment by 18 percent over the next 12 months. In the latest survey this increase is projected at only 16 percent.
 And, in fact, the number of CEOs saying their company was currently hiring fell from 75 percent to 73 percent, while the number of companies reducing their work force rose from a minuscule two percent to seven percent during the fourth quarter of 1991.
 This same pattern is evident in plans for investments. During 1991's third quarter 92 percent of growth company executives said they planned to increase investment in their business in the areas of new product development, facilities and geographic expansion. In the latest survey this number was down to 70 percent.
 Coopers & Lybrand's "Trendsetter Barometer" is developed and compiled by the firm's Emerging Business Services group with assistance from the opinion and economic research firm of Business Science International. At each Coopers & Lybrand office, an Emerging Business Services team is available to serve the needs of small and midsize companies.
 One of the world's leading accounting, tax, management and benefits consulting firms, Coopers & Lybrand provides solutions for businesses in a wide range of industries. The firm offers its clients the expertise of more than 17,000 professionals and staff in 100 U.S. offices and more than 67,000 people in 117 countries worldwide.
 -0- 1/17/92
 NOTE TO EDITORS: Camera-ready graphic art available upon request.
 Coopers & Lybrand's "Trendsetter Barometer" interviewed CEOs of 210 manufacturing and service companies identified in the media as the fastest-growing U.S. businesses over the last five years. The surveyed companies range in size from approximately $1 million to $50 million in annual revenues/sales.
 /CONTACT: David L. Nestor of Coopers & Lybrand, 212-536-2965/ CO: Coopers & Lybrand ST: New York IN: FIN SU: ECO


SM-OS -- NY026 -- 0980 01/17/92 12:17 EST
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Date:Jan 17, 1992
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