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A great debate rages over whether the U.S. economy is in recession — is growth slightly negative or just plain minuscule? On the ground, does it really matter?  Larry Lindsey, President Bush’s former economic adviser, said in a presentation I attended a few years ago that growth in the 1.5% to 2% range feels like recession whether or not it technically is. This week’s release of Fed minutes underscores the reserve bankers are not particularly optimistic, expecting higher unemployment and more inflation, fed by high energy prices. Stock market analysts sound more optimistic, playing up opportunities in companies operating in global markets where growth is better. Indeed many multinationals may produce better bottom line results from overseas operations that help stock prices, but as an Emerging Trends interviewee said to me last summer that doesn’t necessarily boost jobs back home.  And if you operate a domestic focused business, “you’re not going to feel real good,” he said. How prescient he was.

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