Small Business Confidence Collapsed From October To November

spots the results from the Discover Small Business Index and it confirms what many other indicators are showing: Something happened in November to derail the recovery.

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Economic confidence among America’s small business owners plummeted in November, as more owners cited serious concerns about cash flow and saw economic conditions for their own businesses getting worse. The Discover Small Business Watch index fell 12 points in November to 76.5 from 88.5 in October.

  • The mood of small business owners generally has soured in November for three straight years, as economic confidence dropped from October to November in 2007 and 2008. The November 2008 index of 67.5 is the low point for the Watch since it started in August 2006.
  • 52 per cent of owners say they have experienced cash flow issues in the past 90 days, up from 44 per cent in October. 40-one per cent of owners say they have not experienced cash flow issues, which is the lowest response in this category since the Watch began. The remaining 6 per cent said they weren’t sure.
  • 53 per cent of small business owners see conditions getting worse in the next six months, up from 43 per cent in October; while 19 per cent report that conditions are improving, a sharp decline from 29 per cent in October; 23 per cent see conditions as the same, and 5 per cent weren’t sure.
  • 62 per cent of small business owners rate the economy as poor, an increase from 55 per cent in October; 30 per cent rate it as fair, and 8 per cent say it is good or excellent.      
  • 53 per cent of small business owners think the overall economy is getting worse, up from 44 per cent in October but still significantly lower than the 69 per cent of owners who felt that way in February 2009, the last time the Watch index was this low. For November; 28 per cent say the economy is getting better, down from 35 per cent in October; 16 per cent see it staying the same, and 3 per cent are not sure.

Only 11 per cent of Small Businesses Expecting Increased Sales This Year

  • Small business owners have a glum outlook on the holiday season: Only 11 per cent expect to see more business this year over last, while 46 per cent of them are expecting less business than last year, an increase over the 40 per cent who said the same in November 2008; 39 per cent anticipate 2009 sales will be about the same as last year, and 4 per cent weren’t sure.
  • For many small business owners, the holiday season is not necessarily their busiest time. A majority of owners, 56 per cent, say that the holiday season falls somewhere in between being their busiest and the slowest time of year, 29 per cent say this is their slowest time, and 13 per cent say it is the busiest.

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