TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS: With business improving, many small and midsize companies are seeking loans. And in a stark contrast to the depths of the financial crisis, the banks are approving them.
WHY IT MATTERS: Loans are one of the best gauges of economic growth. Small and midsize businesses that form the backbone of the U.S. economy take them out to pay for business needs _ unlike big corporations, which go to the bond markets for low-cost debt.
SIGN OF GROWTH? Such borrowing may indicate those smaller companies are preparing to hire. So far, the economic recovery hasn't been accompanied by job growth.