2008 NSBA Survey of Small & Mid-Size Business

January 12, 2008

The National Small Business Association today released a report detailing how small business is faring in the recession, and things aren’t going well. According to the NSBA 2008 Year-End Economic Report, 91 percent of small businesses surveyed over the last two weeks in December said the national economy today is worse off than five years ago, up significantly from 68 percent in August 2008.

The report found significant decreases in anticipated economic growth for the coming year with a mere 3 percent anticipating growth for the U.S. economy—down from 21 percent in August. The number of small-business owners who cited economic uncertainty as one of their top three challenges was up from 53 percent in August to 75 percent—a 42 percent 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 confidant about the future of their own business,” stated NSBA President Todd O. McCracken. “Coming from traditionally up-beat 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 dramatic decreases in growth of revenues, profits and employee size. Each of these key indicators declined between August and December with the number of small businesses hiring new employees in the past 12 months dropping from 30 percent in August to just 18 percent in December, creating an overall net job loss. Projected job growth didn’t fare any better.

Financing continues to be a problem for small-business owners who reported increased reliance on credit cards—nearly half (49 percent) 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 percent in August to 69 percent in the December. Although regulations have recently been approved that will address some of the problems small businesses are facing, the new rules failed to include business-specific credit cards, making broad reform a critical issue.

“NSBA’s Year-End Economic Report exemplifies the difficult position in which we small businesses find ourselves today,” said NSBA Chair Keith Ashmus. “Given the historic role we have played in job creation, any impediment to our ability to create jobs could make for an extended recession and more difficult recovery.”

Please click here to access the full report.