RECESSION MAY BE AROUND CORNER, BUT SO IS RECOVERY
Most economists predict a recession (contractions in two successive quarters) is inevitable with the end of the fourth quarter. But the same group of analysts surveyed by The Wall Street Journal sees recovery by mid-year next year and then continuing steadily.
Optimists observe that the economy has not yet fully felt boosts from tax rebates, interest rate cuts and the $40 billion additional government spending announced since the September 11 terrorist attacks. An August Gallup poll shows only one in four Americans had spent their tax rebate checks.
SMALL BORROWER RELIABILITY PROPS ECONOMY
Small businesses have been borrowing more and making payments on those loans more reliably than larger borrowers. Analysts regard this as a strong prop to help the economy weather its current shock.
While big borrowers have been running into financial trouble and loans of more than $1 million are down by three percent, smaller loans have increased by about five percent. Money continues to be cheap and easy to get, according to the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB).
NFIB's small business optimism index jumped three points in August to its highest level in a year, usually a forecast that economic growth is about to accelerate. Almost one in five said they would increase payroll in the coming months.
WORKERS PREFER HAPPINESS OVER MONEY
Money can't buy happiness, they say, and workers agree, according to a recent Gallup poll. Asked what they value most about their jobs, 65 percent said job satisfaction, followed by 34 percent being well paid and just one percent having an important title.
HEAD SOUTH, ENTREPRENEURS
The best cities for entrepreneurs are mainly in the South. Dominating the top 10 in the eighth annual Dun & Bradstreet ranking of the best cities for independent businesses were metropolitan areas from Texas to Florida up through North Carolina.
The top 10 are:
• Dallas, TX
• Orlando, FL
• West Palm Beach, FL
• Washington, DC
• Austin, TX
• Fort Worth, TX
• Atlanta, GA
• Fort Lauderdale, FL
• Charlotte, NC
• Raleigh, NC
MEMORIES ARE MADE OF THIS?
Can't remember that customer's name? Maybe it's time to try a dose of—OK, this is going to sound awful—gila monster spit. Appropriately named Gilatide, the substance has proved helpful to rats in remembering how to run a maze.
Because lizards sense prey with their tongues, Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, PA, did testing that found a peptide in the monster's saliva that led to dramatic improvement in memory, at least for rats. Lasting as long as 21 days, the spit treatment may enter human clinical trials in two years.
BEHIND EVERY WELL-PAID MAN STANDS HIS WIFE
It's long been known that married men earn more than unmarried men—12.4 percent more, in fact—but there's a debate over whether it's because women select mates with better earnings prospects or because married men have wives shouldering the household tasks.
Actually, it's the second of the above, the help of wives, according to a study reported in Economic Inquiry magazine. In fact, married men whose wives aren't employed and are free to do all of the housework earn 31 percent more than men who have never been married.