THE SMALL-BUSINESS JOB MACHINE MAY HAVE RUN OUT OF GAS
Small businesses are starting to lose faith in a near-term recovery. The National Federation of Independent Business reports that small business optimism, which surged dramatically last spring and slipped moderately during the summer, continued to decline in October and November.
More ominous is the survey's tally on hiring. nfib economist William C. Dunkelberg notes that small businesses were net job creators from April through the summer, but have since been net job losers. "The job-generating power of small firms, which account for the bulk of employment gains in the economy," he says, "is back in reverse."GENE KORETZ