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Despite all the gloom and doom news, economic confidence among small business owners rose slightly in December. The biggest pain has been cash flow as 42% of owners say they held off paying some bills in the past 90 days but that is down from 44% for the prior month. The “Discover Small Business Watch” found that 21% of small business owners believe that economic conditions for their businesses are getting better, up from 15% in November, which was the all-time low in the 29-month history of the “Watch.” Fifty-one percent feel the conditions are getting worse, which is down from 54% last month. The “Discover Small Business Watch” rose to 72.8 in December, up 5.3 points from November. Small business owners remain cautious about the amount of time it will take the economy to crawl out of its slump. Forty-two percent of owners anticipate that economic recovery will take between 12 and 24 months, while 27 percent believe that it will take longer than 24 months. Twenty-three percent think that the recovery will take less than 12 months.

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