Charlotte, N.C. (Aug. 22, 2002) -- Shaken by the faltering economic recovery and widespread corporate scandals, almost half of small business owners described the U.S. economy as "weak," according to The Network of City Business Journals' nationwide Small Business InSight survey.

While the Small Business Economic Index -- an overall measure of small business owners' outlook -- remains positive (a score above 100 is considered positive), it fell 15 points to 113 from 128 in April. That marks a larger decline than the dip in October 2001 following the September 11 terrorist attacks, when the index fell to its previous low of 123.

Almost half of the small business owners polled (47 percent) described the U.S. economy as "weak," nearly double the percentage (24 percent) that thinks the economy is "strong." In April, 31 percent called the economy weak, while almost as many (30 percent) described it as "strong."

Half of small business owners expressed positive views about the economy's direction, down sharply from April (71 percent). In addition, 38 percent now think the economy will remain weak or grow weaker over the next six months, compared to 18 percent in April.

The Network represents nearly 70 local business journals across the U.S.

-- Electronic Accountant Newswire staff

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