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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. economy.

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"Consumer Confidence 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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