Small businesses in the U.S. are still waiting for the economic rebound that’s enabled larger companies to obtain low-interest credit and to boost exports and production in recent months.
Smaller companies aren’t much more optimistic than they were in the depths of the recession, according to a survey released by the National Federation of Independent Business.
USA TODAY reports that the NFIB’s small business optimism index fell 1.2 points to 86.8 in March, the lowest level since July 2009. That’s a sharp contrast with other surveys showing larger companies rebounding.
The March reading is very low and headed in the wrong direction,” said William Dunkelberg, chief economist at the NFIB. “Something isn’t sitting well with small business owners.”
Small businesses account for about half of gross domestic product. Firms with fewer than 50 employees historically have created about one-third of new jobs, according to Scott Brown, chief economist at Raymond James.
Small businesses cite weak sales and uncertainty about the economic recovery as their leading concerns. Obtaining loans also remains difficult for many NFIB members. Fifteen percent said credit was harder to get than the last time they sought loans, the NFIB said, up from 12% in February.
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