WASHINGTON — According to the National Small Business Association’s (NSBA) 2008 year-end economic report, 91% of small businesses surveyed over the last two weeks of December said the national economy is currently worse off than it was five years ago, up significantly from 68% in August 2008.
The report also found decreases in anticipated economic growth for the coming year, with just 3% anticipating growth for the U.S. economy. This is down from 21% in August. The number of small-business owners who cited economic uncertainty as one of their top three challenges was up from 53% in August to 75% — a 42% shift in just four months.
“Beyond the significant concerns small-business owners expressed about the overall U.S. economy, more than one-third are not confident about the future of their own business,” says Todd O. McCracken, NSBA president. “Coming from traditionally upbeat entrepreneurs, this number ought to send a strong message to Congress — as they craft an economic stimulus package — that small business is struggling.”
Small businesses are dealing with declining growth of revenues, profits and number of employees, with the number of small businesses hiring new employees in the past 12 months dropping from 30% in August to just 18% in December, creating an overall net job loss.
Financing continues to be a problem for small-business owners who reported increased reliance on credit cards — 49% used credit cards in the past 12 months to finance their business. Making matters worse, respondents who reported worsening credit card terms increased from 63% in August to 69% in December.