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Cumberland Merchants Concerned About Economic Impact Of War

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CUMBERLAND COUNTY, N.C. — With many soldiers leaving Fayetteville these days, local merchants worry about an economic slump. Cumberland County merchants are fighting their own war -- a war of survival.

Instead of standing at his barber chair, Chris McKay is sitting down. He said over the last week, business is down by 50 percent. He said he is worried about his business, but he is also worried about the troops.

"The bills keep coming and we still have to pay them, but we hope the best for the troops, that they go over there and come home safe. That's the main thing," McKay said.

A total of 14,000 Fort Bragg soldiers and about 500 Pope airmen are gone or preparing to leave as the buildup for a possible showdown with Iraq continues.

During the Gulf War in 1991, 45,000 troops left the area. Unemployment increased to 6 percent and retail sales fell by more than 13 percent.


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