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September 19, 2017

Mid-Year Economic Report

Small business owners are generally optimistic, but is the “honeymoon” over?  The Mid-Year Economic Report released last week by the National Small Business Association is telling. In full disclosure, I sit on the Board of this organization and participated in the survey. This survey provides solid data from business owners who are members and non-members of NSBA, representing a variety of industries in every state. The survey is conducted twice a year – historical context is important.

Here are a few highlights.

When it comes to the economy the report shows “the small business outlook on the overall economy is at its highest point in seven years.” But, when looking forward small business owners are less optimistic about economic expansion.  In fact, “just over half anticipate growth for their firm in the coming year.”

This is down from six months ago, but this seems to be in line with a 2017 American Express OPEN Small Business Monitor released in May. At that time, the annual survey found nearly three quarters of business owners were pretty positive about the upcoming six months.

What happened?

This past week, I was in D.C. and much of the conversation centered around gridlock. Small business owners who were expecting a lot to happen are now even more frustrated the challenges they face   have not changed much, if at all, from economic uncertainty and the cost of health care, to the burden of regulation and the lack of talent.

Of course, there was good news, at least for those employed by small businesses. 84 percent of those surveyed either gave employees raises or plan to this year. My guess, if you have good employees you want to keep them. Small businesses know we are only as good as the people we employ…and finding more of them remains a challenge.

If you are a data geek, or just want to find out more about what small business thinks when it comes to energy and the environment, financing, or what Congress and the Administration should prioritize, check out the report.


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