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Execs lower economic forecasts

Business leaders' confidence in United States economic conditions has weakened, the Conference Board reports.

On a scale of 0 to 100, the measure of business confidence tumbled to 43 in the fourth quarter of 1981, down from 57 in the third quarter and 63 in the fourth quarter of 1980. The latest reading, however, is still considerably above the record low of 29, posted in the second quarter of 1980. The drop in executives' expectations for the next six months was less severe, with the score declining to 51 in the fourth quarter, from 63 in the third.

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The confidence measure is based on survey results from about 1,500 chief executives who represent all types and sizes of business across the country.

''The fact that executives are more pessimistic about the current state of the economy than about future business conditions reflects the sharp decline in overall economic activity in the final months of 1981, as production slumped and unemployment soared,'' notes Lora S. Collins at the Conference Board. ''Executives' more optimistic rating of future business conditions probably reflects the belief that the current recession will end quickly, and an expectation that the administration's policies,'' will improve the economy, she adds.

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