Not Out Of The Woods

Not that anyone's saying we are, but two economic indicators today backed up President Obama's assertion that 2009 will likely be a tough year, despite the beginning of gains he acknowledged: the National Federation of Independent Businesses' Small Business Optimism index reached the second-lowest ranking of its 35-year history today (index components measuring spending and hiring plans actually reached a record low), with a net negative 10 percent of small business owners planning to create new jobs. Foreclosures, meanwhile, increased 17 percent in March according to the National Association of Realtors, jumping from 290,631 in February to 341,180 last month, meaning a nine percent increase in the first quarter of 2009.