Why are businesses pessimistic about the economy?

Sep 12, 2023
In August, for the 20th straight month, business owners scored their outlook below average.
Rising labor costs and the inflation of prices for necessary goods are two factors making business owners less optimistic.
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Small businesses are still struggling to hire. But the situation's improving.

Sep 1, 2023
The good news: The lowest proportion of small businesses since March 2021 reported having trouble hiring. The bad news: It's still 40%.
Forty percent of small businesses reported having trouble filling job openings last month.
Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

Why are some downtowns booming again?

Aug 7, 2023
Foot traffic in downtown Salt Lake City reached 139% of pre-pandemic levels in spring. And other cities can learn from its example.
A cheaper cost of living, beautiful scenery and a booming economy helped the Greater Salt Lake area grow by 51,000 people last year.
Daniel Slim/AFP via Getty Images

Some small businesses worry they've hit the limit on raising prices

Jul 11, 2023
It could signal that wage and other cost pressures are easing or that sales are weakening and the economy is slowing.
Downbeat sales expectations could cause more businesses to decide against another price hike, said Bill Dunkelberg, chief economist with the National Federation of Independent Business.
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Even with inflation, pricing can be a puzzle for small businesses

Jun 22, 2023
Big businesses can rely on reams of data to figure out how much to raise prices. Small business owners don't have that luxury.
Small businesses, including bike shops, often don't have the large-scale data that bigger businesses do.
Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

A muffin? That'll be $5.50. (Thank inflation.)

Jun 21, 2023
Inflation is cooling, but food prices are still much higher than they were a year ago. Bakery products, in particular.
Blue Sky Bakery in Brooklyn, New York, has had to raise its prices to keep up with its costs.
Samantha Fields/Marketplace

Small-business owners' confidence is down, even though most say business is good

Mar 29, 2023
The latest small business index is an example of the disconnect between people’s experience of the economy and their perceptions of it.
Business owners generally are not feeling optimistic about the economy. Many are putting off buying new equipment or renovating storefronts due to inflation.
andresr/Getty Images

For public good, not for profit.

Increased scrutiny on banks raises specter of tightening credit

Mar 16, 2023
Banks may get stingier and more selective with loans, and that could hurt businesses that need them.
Smaller businesses often turn to small and midsize banks to help expand their operations. But those banks may be getting more selective with loans.
Drazen Zigic/Getty Images

New location means smarter budgeting for Michigan retailer

Mar 10, 2023
Annie Lang-Hartman, owner of Wild Lettie, just signed the lease on a new location, hoping to expand her product offerings.
As Wild Lettie expands to three stores, there is a lot of work to do to set up shop.
Courtesy Annie Lang Hartman

In China's most locked-down city, business can resume but recovery is a long way off

Feb 21, 2023
The Chinese city of Ruili, on the border with Myanmar, has had more lockdowns than almost any other place in China.
A jade seller and two women stare at their cellphones in Ruili. Vendors are trickling back to the Jiegao jade market, but customers are few and far between.
Charles Zhang/Marketplace