A sliver of a silver lining

Although they may be difficult to find, there are faint signs the economy is beginning to rebound. One such sign is lending by the Small Business Administration (SBA).

According to SBA, the agency provided 37 percent more loans during the fourth quarter of 2009 than it did during the same period in 2008. During the fourth quarter of 2009, SBA processed 12,393 loans totaling $3.8 billion. During the fourth quarter of 2008, the agency processed 9,070 loans totaling $1.9 billion.

However, during the fourth quarter of 2007, SBA processed more than 20,000 loans. So though the news of increased lending is positive, it has yet to reach the levels seen before the recession.

SBA Spokesman Jonathan Swain told "While there are some indicators that the economy is moving in the right direction, no one would say we are out of the woods yet."