Small Business Optimism is Down

A quick follow up to yesterdays post – How to Erode the Middle Class

Emily Maltby wrote on CNNMoney.com a piece called Small-business owners’ outlook bleak. Here are some items I liked:

The National Federation of Independent Business’ monthly Index of Small
Business Optimism fell one point to 88.2 in July, continuing one of the
longest strings of recession-level readings in the 22-year history of
the survey.

Spending activity has declined since September and has fallen to early ’80s levels, according to the NFIB’s poll results.

Employment also remains soft: 10% of those polled said they had hired new workers, but 15% reduced employment at their firm.

The NFIB’s chief economist, Bill Dunkelberg, thinks the outlook is glum
for the economy for the next six months. “That said, we should remind
everyone that the U.S. is never uniformly in a boom or a recession,” he
said. “You really have to analyze what’s happening in your market where
you are and how it ties in to the fortunes of the larger economy.”

Not all owners are pessimistic; some treat the recession as a creative
challenge. Even in the hard-hit construction industry, 19% of owners
polled by the NFIB said plan to expand their workforce, while just 12%
intend to cut back – and while 13% have cut their selling prices, 48%
said they hiked them.

Borrowing activity has stayed on pace with typical trends, and few owners say loans are hard to get.

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