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Report: Small-Business Owners Less Optimistic About Economic Outlook

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(Photo: © iStockphoto/Lilli Day)

Staff Writer |

WASHINGTON — Small-business owners are less optimistic today about the economic outlook of their own firms and the overall economy than in the previous six months, according to the Mid-Year Economic Report released by the National Small Business Association (NSBA).

“While the dip in outlook is in line with cyclical drops in optimism mid-year, there’s more to it,” says NSBA President/CEO Todd McCracken. “The constant barrage of negative campaigning and near-complete failure of Washington to govern is having a broad, negative effect on America’s small businesses.”

Six months ago, the number of small-business owners who anticipated a recessionary economy was just 14%—that number has jumped to 34% today, the highest it’s been since December 2009.

Correspondingly, the number of small-business owners who anticipate economic expansion in the coming 12 months was cut nearly in half, from 20% six months ago to 11% today.

There is a bright spot: the long-term economic outlook is slightly improved, with 23% now saying that today’s economy is better than it was five years ago, the highest it’s been in four years.

The near-term outlook shows that 44% of small-business owners think the national economy is worse today than it was six months ago—up from 31% in December 2011. Furthermore, the number of small-business owners who are not confident about the future of their own business jumped from 25% six months ago to 40% today, the largest increase in nearly five years.

“Given that economic uncertainty is the most significant challenge small-business owners face today, it should come as no surprise that addressing the deficit is the No. 1 thing small businesses want policymakers to address,” says Chris Holman, CEO of Michigan Business Network.com.

The full report is available for download here.

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