THAT SINKING FEELING

LURKING BELOW ROSY REPORTS OF BUSY FACTORIES AND NEW JOBS ARE SIGNS THAT THE ECONOMY IS SLOWING

RUTH STAFFORD HAD BIG PLANS THIS year for Kiva Container Corp., a fast-growing maker of corrugated packing boxes whose sales jumped 15% in 1994. But when business began to stall in recent weeks, Stafford had to think again. She put off spending $500,000 on new equipment and adding nine workers to her payroll of 60. "Our customers are reluctant to buy boxes because they are beginning to see their own orders slow,'' says Stafford, president of the Phoenix, Arizona, company. "And that's a big change from what we had been seeing.''

It's a signal as well that the U.S. economy may...

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