Monday, April 30, 2012

This Week in Small Business: Where Is the Recovery?

The Big Story: What’s the Fed To Do?

The Federal Reserve’s Open Market Committee says the economy is expanding moderately. A former chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation warns that the Fed is fueling a financial bubble. The Fed chairman, Ben S. Bernanke, and a Times columnist, Paul Krugman, battle it out. Josh Bivens says that the United Kingdom’s double-dip recession is proof austerity doesn’t work. Henry Blodget says it’s official: Keynes was right. Peter Diamond and Emmanuel Saez believe that increasing tax rates is part of a sensible deficit-reduction strategy. Jared Bernstein summarizes the economic impact of raising taxes on high-income households. Social Security’s projected shortfall date is moved up to 2033. President Obama slow jams the news.

The Economy: The Shale Boom

Russell Investments updates its state-of-the-economy dashboard. Among accountants, confidence in the global economy improved substantially in early 2012. USA Today reports that some economists are upping their 2012 forecasts. A Wells Fargo strategist says the economy is looking up. So far this quarter, 79 percent of American companies have beaten earnings forecasts. Mark Perry predicts a shale-based economic boom: “low-cost energy provided primarily by shale gas production advances will almost certainly contribute to an investment boom across the U.S. economy.” Barry Ritholtz says the economy is where it’s supposed to be. But Marc Faber says the fiscal condition of the United States is a “catastrophe.” Michael Snyder lists 22 red flags that indicate serious doom. A new study by Manta finds that most small business owners didn’t hire a single employee in the first three months of 2012. Jeffrey Rosen asks where the small-business recovery is.

The Data: Housing Prices Fall

Growth cools (although consumer spending is up). Orders for durable goods fell significantly (pdf) in March. Home prices drop for the sixth straight month, and new home sales fall, too. Capacity tightens as conditions get tougher for shippers. But truck tonnage inches up, as does traffic volume (pdf). Manufacturers’ earnings are up. Weekly unemployment claims remain high.

Management: Incorporating Fun

An entrepreneur finds out what happens when all of his wildest dreams come true. The Economist predicts that the digitization of manufacturing will transform the way goods are made — and change the politics of jobs, too. Ever wonder what happy people have in common? Barbara Corcoran says that incorporating fun into your business is essential: “It is the way to get the best ideas and bring together your employees.” Lewis Love says that employing international students will enhance the quality of your staff: “They possess a strong knowledge of their subject area but lack the time and experience required to secure a top-paying full-time position.” Kentin Waits says complaining is good. Groupon’s chief executive drinks too much beer.

For the full post from the NYTimes blog, click here.

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