Business: Consumers Feel the Pinch

And Madison Avenue wants to know: How do you sell in a recession ?

With the economy in a downward spiral of still uncertain depth, many consumers have decided to cut their losses. The '70s "me" decade, which expired in an orgy of spending last Christmas, has given way to more conservative buying patterns. With good reason. More Americans are unemployed, many others are doing without overtime pay, and inflation has eroded earnings.

The harbingers of serious recession are ominous. Last week the Labor Department announced that real hourly compensation dropped 5.6% during...

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