Whether you are choosing a career, making a career change, or deciding whether to start your own business, this is admittedly an unsettled and uncertain economic time. We have Presidential elections coming up with two candidates with completely different ways of dealing with the recession. Little economic news seems good. And grocery shopping makes me personally depressed - apple prices have risen to $2.39/lb from $1.99/lb 6 months ago, here in Washington state no less. But don't let the uncertain economy derail your decision-making process.
Time to stop watching the news. Stop thinking "macro" - the big picture and start thinking "micro" - what is the status of my current situation, my industry or industry of interest, and my region? How people and careers are doing varies widely based on these factors. If the "big picture" news is causing you to hesitate or be extra nervous about making a big career or business start-up decision, turn it off and focus on your local situation.
For example, for most people here in the Pacific Northwest, unless you are starting a spa (discretionary services people usually cut back on during tighter times) or looking for a job in real estate, big career and self-employment decisions are largely unaffected by the economic downturn. Personal cash flow is tighter because of higher prices, but if you're trying to decide which Investigative occupation appeals most to you, say a nurse or a doctor, your decision is basically unaffected by current conditions. The need for doctors or nurses is not going to change much soon. However, for someone considering a farming career in the midwest, the overall economy may impact your decision - depending on what crops are grown locally (wheat, soy, or corn) and future fuel and food prices.
Your most accurate sources of information to help you make your decision don't come from the news media, they come from talking with people actually working in the jobs that interest you. Information interviewing, networking, and reading blogs written by working people will give you practical information you can use. Realistic perspective about the economy, unlike the "sky is falling" news spin from major media, comes from the people who actually live in it.