FARMERS BRANCH, Texas (4/21/10)--The Conference Board’s Measure of CEO Confidence decreased slightly in first quarter 2010 after it had increased in the fourth quarter 2009. The Conference Board is nonprofit, private business research firm based in New York City. The measure decreased to 62, down from 64 in the last quarter. A reading of more than 50 points reflects more positive than negative responses (LoneStar Leaguer April 19). “CEOs continue to rate current economic and industry conditions favorably, but expectations are that the pace of growth will not pick up in the months ahead,” said Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board Consumer Research Center. “Hiring plans are improved from last year, but less than a third expects employment levels to increase this year.” CEOs’ assessment of current economic conditions is less favorable. About 71% said conditions have improved, compared with six months ago, down from 75% last quarter. However, in assessing their own industries, business leaders’ attitudes improved, with 59% claiming conditions are now better, compared with 54% last quarter. Looking ahead six months, CEOs are slightly less optimistic. Roughly 52% of business leaders expect economic conditions to improve in the next six months, down from 58% last quarter. Expectations for their own industries also are less positive, with 42% of CEOs anticipating an improvement in the months ahead, down from 45% last quarter. More than 30% of CEOs anticipate an increase in employment levels in their industry, up significantly from less than 3% a year ago. The proportion of CEOs who anticipate a decrease in hiring nosedived to 22% from 86% a year ago.