The business community, like everybody else, is trying to make sense of the mixed signals coming from the economy. The U.S. unemployment rate, for example, dropped to 9.7 percent in January, down from 10 percent in December, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports, but at the same time the economy shed another 20,000 net jobs.
Meanwhile, U.S. economic growth in the fourth quarter of 2009 shot up to a reported 5.7 percent. But this preliminary number probably won’t hold when the first correction comes out—and even if it does, no one expects 2010 to sustain a level of growth anywhere near that, with most educated predictions falling within the 2.8 to 3 percent range.
And Europe has its own fears, with the value of the euro falling and Greece, Spain, and Portugal rumored to be near default.