Where The Startups Are

Business starts in the U.S. fell 2.2% in 1997, Dun & Bradstreet Corp. data show. The early 1990s saw loads of laid-off workers go solo; now, a tight labor market encourages marginal entrepreneurs to stay on a payroll. Also, rising expenses squeeze margins--discouraging would-be entrepeneurs who need to break even quickly. Startups in 1997 were generally larger, creating 11% more jobs than '96. Failures rose 14%, the first uptick in three years.

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