More bad news on the small business front courtesy of Discover, whose own survey absolutely confirms what the NFIB is saying.
- The March results were marked by a surge in the number of small business owners who say economic conditions for their own businesses are deteriorating:53 per cent of them say the climate will get worse in the next six months, compared to only 37 per cent who answered that way in February. Of the remaining respondents, 20 per cent said things are getting better, 20 per cent said things are the same, and 6 per cent are unsure.
- When asked about their intentions to invest in their businesses, 52 per cent said they would decrease spending, up from 43 per cent in February, while 27 per cent said they would make no changes, and 18 per cent said they plan to increase spending.
- Little faith was expressed for the direction of the larger economy, as 58 per cent said it is getting worse, up from 44 per cent in February; while 22 per cent think it is getting better, down from 31 per cent the prior month; and 16 per cent said it’s staying the same, versus 24 per cent last month.
- Views on the current economy were relatively unchanged over February:59 per cent rated the economy poor, 31 per cent called it fair, 6 per cent said good, and 1 per cent chose excellent.
- Cash flow issues remained largely unchanged:46 per cent said their businesses encountered temporary cash flow issues in the past 90 days that caused them to hold off on paying some bills, 47 per cent did not have issues, and 7 per cent weren’t sure.
What’s stunning is the divergence between what small businesses see, and what we’re about to hear from large companies during earnings season, who will no doubt talk about a rebound and a turnaround and blue skies ahead.
This bifurcation is certainly a huge story to watch.
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