Small-business hopes shrinking

Small-business owners increasingly uncertain about economy

The outlook for small businesses in the United States is not rosy, according to the latest survey from the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization representing small businesses. NFIB’s monthly Small-Business Optimism Index fell in July for the fifth month in a row. Small-business owners across the country weighed in with lower July numbers in six of the categories that make up the Index—Plans to Increase Employment, Plans to Make Capital Outlays, Expect Economy to Improve, Expect Real Sales Higher, Current Job Openings and Expected Credit Conditions. “Given the current political climate, the protracted debate over how to handle the nation’s debt and spending, and now this latest development of the debt downgrade, expectations for growth are low and uncertainty is great,” Bill Dunkelberg, NFIB’s chief economist was quoted as saying. The news from NFIB coincides with recent Wells Fargo-Gallup Small Business Index numbers showing that the percentage of small-business owners who expect their revenues and jobs at their companies to increase over the next 12 months has fallen steadily since January:

Percentage of owners anticipating increase in revenues over next year:

January: 54 • April: 49 • July: 42

Percentage of owners expecting jobs to increase over next year:

January: 23 • April: 19 • July: 16