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A look behind today's bankruptcy rate:

No question, business failures are at the highest level since 1933. According to Dun & Bradstreet, if firms keep going under at the current rate, business failures will top 22,000 for the year. But rough as it is for those who flounder , this doesn't mean the economy is sliding down the tube. D & B also notes that today it lists 2.8 million firms. Fifty years ago, when 31,822 businesses failed , it listed 2.08 million companies. That's a 0.7 percent failure rate in 1982 against a 1.5 percent failure rate in '32.

The impact on the economy pales when you consider that real GNP today is 6.5 times that of 1932, and that inflation played large role in pushing today's bankrupt businesses into the red.

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