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To small business owners, it's a recession

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(Read caption) Cautious about the economy, small business owners are holding off growing their enterprises in increasing numbers

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Consumer confidence continues to languish, which is leading economists to: 1) worry about a double dip recession, 2) worry about a new recession, 3) or finally agree with most of us that we are still in a recession.

Cautious customers are not spending their money. This is leading many small business owners to continue to see their businesses go nowhere, fast.

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Based on how their businesses are performing, more than one-third of small business owners (38%) believe we are still in recession, according to the just-released American Express OPENĀ® Small Business Monitor.

Economic sluggishness is impacting the psyche of entrepreneurs: 27 percent say they do not plan to grow in the next six months (up from 21% in the spring) and just 77 percent describe themselves as glass-half-full optimists (down from 85% a year ago). I have heard a few even begin to exclaim, "What glass!!!???"

The survey did find a few signs that those who have survived are getting ready for continued difficult times. Cash flow is more under control: 55% have concerns, down from 66% in the spring.