Where The Blahs Are


Feeling blue? It's not the holidays, it's the economic outlook. Dun & Bradstreet Corp.'s latest optimism index shows small businesses turning bearish, while Corporate America sees a few bright spots. Even where big business sees a squeeze, small business is feeling more pinched. The D&B results are confirmed by a study from the National Federation of Independent Business. Its September optimism index was the lowest in two years. And only 2% of small firms reported price hikes in the first nine months of 1998, matching recessionary 1992. Historically, optimism is still pretty hIgh. As NFIB Chief Economist William C. Dunkelberg notes: "`Weakening' from arguably the strongest level of economic activity in history is not particularly bad."

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