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Is the Economy Losing Steam? Say "recession" around most homebased entrepreneurs, and they break out in a sweat. But things aren't as bad as they seem.

If you asked a fellow homebased business owner what the largestthreat to his business is, he might say a recession. A sustainedeconomic downturn, he'd say, will cause companies to turn offthe money spigot, lay off employees, and hunker down until thefinancial clouds part on the economy and skies are sunny again.

Maybe...but more likely, maybe not. It's important to notethat we're not in a recession, so worrying about it is a wasteof time. In fact, the economy may even grow in 2001, albeit slowly.According to Merrill Lynch chief economist Bruce Steinberg, theglobal gross domestic product (GDP) is expected to rise to 3.2percent, which is down from 2000 but stronger than in 1998 and1999. In addition, the Fed has cut the federal funds rate to 5.5percent, making the risk of recession low.

And even if we do enter a recession, many experts say it will bethin and short and that the economy will rebound quickly. PhilipJefferson, an economics professor at Swarthmore College inSwarthmore, Pennsylvania, says the nation is equipped for a speedyrecovery due to an increasingly versatile and highly skilled workforce that's already well-acquainted with the processes ofacquiring skills, meeting deadlines, staying on schedule andlearning. These skills, along with the experience of having had ajob in the recent past, will empower workers who might temporarilylose a job in the next recession, according to Jefferson.Workers' willingness and ability to retrain and move to areaswhere jobs are more plentiful can potentially facilitate a fasterrecovery from a recession.

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