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What bad economy?

MBJ Editorial

The study of economics can be precisely inexact. Despite advances in data collection, computer modeling and statistical analysis, divining the minds of millions of consumers remains difficult.

Will the American economy fall, or is it already falling, victim to a self-fulfilling bad-economy prophecy? Has speculation and overanalysis in the media exacerbated a situation that isn’t really that bad?

It, of course, depends upon perspective.

Reports indicate that Americans were back in the malls and restaurants in January, spending money and snapping up post-holiday deals after a disappointing December. Good news for retailers. However, there are troubling economic issues: the U.S. trade deficit for 2000 rose to a record $369.7 billion; dot-coms continue layoffs; the nation is dealing with energy issues from California to the East Coast — energy bills are also setting records.

But are these situations and others enough to trigger a recession? Only if consumers and businesses stop spending and investing. The U.S. economy is in a slowdown, but it should be, at worst, uncomfortable — not catastrophic.

We agree with the economists predicting moderate growth for the U.S. economy. And while “mild” or “moderate” growth isn’t as much fun as a 20% or 30% ROI, there should still be plenty of returns.

The sky is not falling.

Editor`s note: Last week’s front page Mardi Gras photo was published in error. The Mississippi Business Journal regrets any offense readers and advertisers may have taken.

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