COVID-19

Survey finds small business confidence at 8-month low

Justin Ho Feb 9, 2021
Heard on:
HTML EMBED:
COPY
If business owners can hang on, they may benefit from pent-up demand as consumers anticipate spending more in the year ahead. Spencer Platt/Getty Images
COVID-19

Survey finds small business confidence at 8-month low

Justin Ho Feb 9, 2021
Heard on:
If business owners can hang on, they may benefit from pent-up demand as consumers anticipate spending more in the year ahead. Spencer Platt/Getty Images
HTML EMBED:
COPY

Small business confidence has hit an eight-month low. The reading for January is out Tuesday morning from the National Federation of Independent Business. The number expecting better business conditions through the middle of the year hit its lowest level since 2013.

It’s hard to be optimistic about business over the next few months, said Randy George, owner of the Red Hen Baking Company in Vermont. Its cafe hasn’t had indoor dining since last April.

“We do have a lot of people coming to the window and getting sandwiches to go, but, it’s a window,” George said.

Small business pessimism can be a drag on the overall economy, said Bill Dunkelberg, chief economist at the NFIB.

He said that when businesses expect sales to fall, “that’s going to feed back into their capital spending plans, and their inventory investment plans, and their hiring plans.”

But there are reasons for optimism, too. George said he expects sales to pick up in the second half of the year with more vaccinations and fewer restrictions.

“There’s this pent-up demand,” he said. “And when that starts to get released, you know, our challenge might be keeping up with that.”

A survey this week from the New York Federal Reserve found that consumers anticipate their spending will grow in the year ahead at the highest rate in five years.

We’re here to help you navigate this changed world and economy.

Our mission at Marketplace is to raise the economic intelligence of the country. It’s a tough task, but it’s never been more important.

In the past year, we’ve seen record unemployment, stimulus bills, and reddit users influencing the stock market. Marketplace helps you understand it all, will fact-based, approachable, and unbiased reporting.

Generous support from listeners and readers is what powers our nonprofit news—and your donation today will help provide this essential service. For just $5/month, you can sustain independent journalism that keeps you and thousands of others informed.