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Coming Down

Recession or no recession, business as usual won't do in 2001.

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This story appears in the April 2001 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

As this article goes to press in winter, the talk of the nation for the past two months has been about a U.S. economic slowdown. Journalists are trotting out reams of data to detail plunging corporate profits and a bear stock market. And some indicators, undeniably, look bad:

  • The Commerce Department showed growth slowing to an annual rate of 1.4 percent in the fourth quarter from the third quarter's 2.2 percent and the second quarter's 5.6 percent.
  • The Conference Board saw its widely followed Consumer Confidence Index fall to its lowest point in more than four months: 114.14 in January from 128.6 in December.
  • OPEC seems determined to keep oil at or above $25 per barrel, while natural gas prices have risen astronomically.
  • Such stalwarts of the New Economy as Intel are issuing profit warnings.
  • Fed chairman Alan Greenspan reported to Congress less-than-encouraging news on January 25: "As far as we can judge, we have had a very dramatic slowing down, and indeed we are probably very close to zero [growth] at this particular moment."

Judging by the statistics, it looks like Morgan Stanley Dean Witter chief economist Stephen Roach may have been right when he predicted a recession for 2001 in a January 8 report.

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