Some Floyd area business owners tell me they are cautiously optimistic about the coming year. Business has picked up the past few weeks and cash registers appear to be ringing again.

Most signs nationwide point to a slow, but steady, period of economic recovery over the next year or two so those who have struggled in recent months hope they have turned the corner, no matter how slight.

After a brutal winter that shut down many businesses for days on end, the hope for a brighter spring and summer.

But some roadblocks remain. Reports the Associated Press in its quarterly economic survey:

  • Theunemployment rate will stay stubbornly high the next two years. It will inch down to 9.3 percent by the end of this year and to 8.4 percent by the end of 2011. The rate has been 9.7 percent since January. When the recession started in December 2007, unemployment was 5 percent.
  • Home prices will remain almost flat for the next two years, even after plunging an average 30 percent nationally since their peak in 2006. The economists forecast no rise this year and a 2.3 percent gain next year.
  • The economy will grow 3 percent this year, which is less than usual during the early phase of a recovery and the reason unemployment will stay high. It takes growth of 5 percent for a year to lower the jobless rate by 1 percentage point, economists say.

So most are keeping their fingers crossed.

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