Listen To The Story


Bob Moon: Things aren't any better for the "little guys." The National Small Business Association, a Washington advocacy group, has a survey of its members out this morning, and the headline they put on it seems to say it all: "Outlook Not Good." From the Entrepreneurship Desk at Oregon Public Broadcasting, Mitchell Hartman reports.

Mitchell Hartman: Half of those surveyed expect their sales to deteriorate this year. Those planning to cut jobs outnumber those planning to add them, by a third. Most say credit conditions are getting worse. Still, there's something surprising buried here: inveterate, tenacious optimism.

Todd McCracken is the association's president:

Todd McCracken: There's always been a strikingly more optimistic outlook on the part of small-business owners about their own business than about the economy overall.

So while just 3 percent think the U.S. economy will grow this year, nearly two-thirds are confident about their own company's prospects.

Is this just the "irrational exuberance" of entrepreneurs? Not exactly, says McCracken.

McCracken: Fundamentally, they're more resilient because they have a greater ability to be flexible, and they're more responsive to the marketplace as they see it.

McCracken says they may be quicker to shed employees to stay afloat, but also be quicker to hire back up, when business starts to turn around.

I'm Mitchell Hartman for Marketplace.

“I think the best compliment I can give is not to say how much your programs have taught me (a ton), but how much Marketplace has motivated me to go out and teach myself.” – Michael in Arlington, VA

As a nonprofit news organization, what matters to us is the same thing that matters to you: being a source for trustworthy, independent news that makes people smarter about business and the economy. So if Marketplace has helped you understand the economy better, make more informed financial decisions or just encouraged you to think differently, we’re asking you to give a little something back.

Become a Marketplace Investor today – in whatever amount is right for you – and keep public service journalism strong. We’re grateful for your support.

Follow Mitchell Hartman at @entrepreneurguy