Economic confidence among African-American CEOs was down in the first quarter of 2003, from 44 out of 100 in the previous quarter to 37.9, according to the Gazelle Index from ING U.S. Financial Services.

Even so, the index revealed that 47.4% of CEOs believe that they will increase hiring over the next three months. "While African-American CEOs continue to have short-term concerns about the economy, it is encouraging that nearly 50% expect to increase employment over the next three months, while less than 10% expect to decrease employment," said Allan Baker, senior vice president of brand management.

The index surveys African-American CEOs with 10 to 100 employees about various economic and business issues, including employment, economic outlook, and business activity. The purpose of the index is to provide business owners with insight into other leaders’ views and intentions.

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