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Mixed Signals

Keep your business alive in an unpredictable economy.

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This story appears in the September 2005 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Words like variable and mixed are usually used todescribe the weather. These days, they can also be used to describethe U.S. .

While the economy keeps growing overall, the combination ofrising gas prices, a static job market and a potential housingbubble has left the U.S. consumer somewhat pessimistic. Consumerconfidence fell for the fifth straight month in May--the longestconsecutive decline since 2002. The Conference Board's" Index," a monthly survey of 5,000U.S. households, tumbled 6.3 points between March and April alone.While the most recent figures from the survey indicate thatconsumer confidence may be on the rise--the index rose more than 2points between May and June--entrepreneurs aren't out of thewoods yet.

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