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Biz Pulse

Small business owners are adjusting to the uncertain economy by putting business development spending plans on hold and forgoing employee healthcare insurance. The latest monthly index of economic confidence among small business has found that 46% say they plan to reduce spending on business development and 30% are not making any changes. The “Discover Small Business Watch” index fell to 71.4 in January, down 1.4 points from December. However, the number of owners who say they have experienced temporary cash flow issues in the past 90 days decreased in January to 38% from 42% in December. Only 8% feel the economy is improving, down from 12% in December. Sixty-nine percent of owners think the U.S. economy is getting worse and 17% see no change, which is largely in line with December. Eighty-five percent of small business owners say they do not offer health insurance to their employees, up significantly from 77% a year ago and 74% in January 2007. Among small business owners who do offer health insurance, 36% say they have considered discontinuing coverage because of high costs. Discover also found that of those who say they will need extra money to stay afloat, 9% will use credit cards.

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