More and more economists foresee the U.S. falling into a recession, according to the latest survey by the National Association for Business...

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More and more economists foresee the U.S. falling into a recession, according to the latest survey by the National Association for Business Economics.

The group said in a report released today that 45 percent of the economists on its forecasting panel expect a recession this year. In September, only 25 percent did.

The survey shows that 55 percent still believe the country will be able to skate by without falling into an actual downturn, typically defined as two consecutive quarters of declines in the gross domestic output.

All the analysts, however, expect growth to slow considerably this year.

The panel of 47 top forecasters thinks if a recession occurs, it will be short and shallow, the report said.


Spokane firm alleges copyright infringement

A small Spokane software company is suing Microsoft for allegedly infringing its copyright.

Maplewood Software claims Microsoft violated its copyright on a database it had built for the Redmond company by duplicating it, according to the suit filed in U.S. District Court.

Maplewood asks for unspecified monetary damages, attorney’s fees and a court order preventing Microsoft from copying or using multiple copies of the database software.

Maplewood’s chief product is Web-based staff-scheduling software, primarily for health-care clients.


Pump prices jump 16 cents in two weeks

The average price of regular gasoline at the pump rose 16 cents in the past two weeks to $3.10 a gallon, according to analyst Trilby Lundberg’s survey of 7,000 filling stations nationwide.

Crude-oil futures rose to a record $101.32 a barrel Feb. 20 amid signs global demand is growing.

“There’s plenty of gasoline,” Lundberg said. “It’s entirely crude oil that caused this.”

The highest average price for self-serve regular was $3.37 in Honolulu. The lowest was in Phoenix, at $2.87.


Sellers’ boycott slashes listings by 13 percent

The biggest boycott by eBay sellers concludes today, capping a week of acrimony after the online-auction site raised fees and changed its feedback policy.

Auction listings on dropped about 13 percent since the strike started Feb. 18 to about 13 million items, according to third-party tracking sites.

The boycott, amid slowing growth and intensifying competition from Amazon and Google, could presage a challenging year for John Donahoe, eBay’s incoming CEO, say analysts.

Donahoe, who takes the post next month, recently said the cost to list items will be cut, but the commission charged for completed sales rose.

Northwest Airlines

Pilot-union leaders fail to vote on report

Pilot leaders at Northwest Airlines failed to vote on a report from union negotiators seeking a way to mesh their ranks with counterparts at potential merger partner Delta Air Lines.

Northwest leaders of the Air Line Pilots Association received a report on “cooperative merger exploration” yet ended a two-day meeting Friday without a vote, said the union’s updated Web site.

Delta and Northwest executives are waiting for a pilot accord before proceeding with a merger, people familiar with the talks said last week.

Pilot negotiators are trying to integrate seniority lists, a hurdle to the combination that would result in the world’s largest carrier.

Compiled from The Associated Press, McClatchy News Service, USA Today and Bloomberg News