...And The Ranks Of Bullish Economists Are Growing

Small businesses may be whistling in the dark, but they're hardly alone. A growing number of economists also believe a recovery may be at hand. In his weekly report on the economy, for example, Michael Evans of Evans Economics Inc. declares that "the recession has ended." Lehrman Bell Mueller Canon Inc., an Arlington (Va.)-based consulting firm, predicts that the economy will surge at a 4% annual rate in the current quarter. And both DRI/McGraw-Hill and Giulio Martini of Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. believe that the omens point to a modest growth rate of less than 1% in the second quarter followed by a faster pickup later in the year.

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