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TrendWatch: What Can You Make of the Economy?

This week's TrendWatch helps you weed through the economic indicators that matter to your small business.

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You may feel a bit lost these days trying to take the nation’s economic temperature.

We’ve seen the stock market yo-yo in a matter of days—plunging to record lows on a Friday, only to shoot back up at the sound of Monday’s opening bell. A recent report showed consumer confidence remained weak in September. Just a few days later jobless claims reached a five-month best.

In this week's TrendWatch, Inc.com’s Nicole Marie Richardson speaks with Raj Seshadri, Citibank’s head of small-business banking, to help you make sense of it all.

What should you pay attention to amidst conflicting reports and economic indicators? Watch the video to find out.

In this week’s TrendWatch Facts and Figures, a round-up of stats that impact entrepreneurs:

  • Consumers are wary. In September, consumer confidence was 45.4—only ever-so-slightly better than August’s Great Recession low, according to the Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index. A healthy economy’s consumer-confidence rating would hover around 90.
  • September wrapped up a very weak quarter for the stock market, with the major indexes Dow Jones Industrial Average, S&P 500, and Nasdaq Composite down to the worst lows since the credit crisis.
  • On the other hand, the applications for jobless benefits dropped to 391,000 (down by 37,000) in the week that ended Sept. 24, according to U.S. government data. That's the lowest number since April.
  • CitiGroup’s latest study of small-business owners found that this group feels prepared for what's up next. Ninety-four percent of surveyed owners said they feel they are either "very" or "somewhat" responsible for the nation’s economic recovery. 

What should you look out for this week? New data on construction spending (Monday), factory orders (Tuesday), and claims for unemployment benefits (Thursday).

Last updated: Oct 3, 2011

NICOLE MARIE RICHARDSON | Staff Writer | Executive Editor, Special Projects, Inc.com

Nicole Marie Richardson is the executive editor for special projects at Inc.com. She manages the website's largest projects, including the Inc. 5000, an annual list of the fastest-growing, privately-held companies in America.




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