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US Small-Business Optimism Suffers Largest Decline Since the End of 2022


Feb 13, 2024

The worker in Third Man Pressing manufacturing facility in Detroit is removing a vinyl record from a press. The company’s manufacturing facility comes under Bloomberg News. U.S. small-business optimism faced a significant drop in January due to a fall in profits and weakening sales expectations, according to the National Federation of Independent Business.
The overall index of the group fell 2 points to 89.9, marking the most significant monthly decline since December 2022. The decline was attributed to a decrease in owners who expected higher real sales volumes. Many reported lower earnings over the last three months. The group’s chief economist, Bill Dunkelberg commented on the situation, suggesting that there was a need for a more positive view of the future economy.

The share of owners planning to boost employment dropped to the lowest level since May 2020. Meanwhile, an overwhelming majority continued to cite a lack of qualified candidates. There was also a 15% reduction in selling prices, marking the largest share since August 2020. Although inflation is cooling and is becoming slightly less of a concern, a significant portion of owners still identified that as the single most important concern in managing their businesses.

A more positive view of the future economy and economic policy would help stimulate longer-term investment spending, but currently, owners’ views about the future are not supportive, said Dunkelberg. Financing was also a significant concern. This is even truer as 39% of small-business owners had job openings that they were unable to fill due to a lack of qualified candidates.

By Editor

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