For Subscribers

What Goes Up

Now there's a new way to track small business's ups and downs.

By Stephen Barlas • Jan 1, 2004

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Entrepreneurs don't need a graphing calculator to know thatbusiness conditions have fallen from the Himalayan heights of theend of the past decade to somewhere close to sea level. But nowDemocrats on the House Small Business Committee have produced aSmall Business Index (SBI) that tracks those peaks and valleys.Published for the first time last fall, the SBI charts an upswingfrom 1998 (the first year for which data was collected) until 2000,and then a devastating descent to the second quarter of 2003 (themost recent quarter for which data was collected).

The SBI groups 19 economic indicators into four categories:costs factors, credit conditions, industry metrics and tradecompetitiveness. After reaching a five-year high of 107.73 in 2000,the SBI slid to a five-year low of 72.16 in the second quarter of2003.

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