Many sources are reporting how the economy seems to be finally gaining some momentum. We wanted to know what you thought about these reports, so last week we asked how the New Year was looking. As you can see, the ratio of responses hasn’t changed much from past polls. This tells me after six years of a moribund economy most small business owners aren’t going to get excited until they can confirm that economic momentum has reached all the way down to the last mile of Main Street.
Archive for the 'Economy: National and Global' Category
As you can see, over half of our respondents are either indifferent toward, or negative about the impact of the Political Class on their business. The rest are hopeful about their business because of the upcoming Republican-controlled Congress. Alas, the Dems got no love in this poll.
**Photo credit to Donkey Hotey on Flickr.com. Image links to page. (CC).
Here are the results of my 2014 predictions, what happened and my score.
Prediction: Five years after the Great Recession ended, the economy will average less than 3% growth. Actual: Although surging, 2014 GDP will be about 2.3%. Plus 1.
Prediction: Even with a slightly improved economy, small business (SB) optimism levels will still be below the NFIB Index’s 41-year average of 100 points. Actual: NFIB Index 2014 SB optimism is below 95 points. Unfortunately, plus 1.
Prediction: Continued uncertainty for the sixth straight year will make SBs reluctant to invest and borrow money. Actual: NFIB Index shows small businesses loan demand and investing at record low levels. Plus 1.
Prediction: Uncertainty about Obamacare’s impact will cause SBs to continue hiring reluctance. Actual: NFIB and other surveys shows SB hiring still negligible. Plus 1.
Prediction: Obamacare will continue to be an economic headwind in 2014. Actual: Owners and managers continue to identify Obamacare as a significant negative factor in business decisions. Plus 1.
Prediction: More significant than the media favorite U3 unemployment rate, the employment participation rate, currently 63%, will remain at a 38-year (Carter) record low. Actual: Current labor participation is 62.8%. Plus 1.
Prediction: The Fed will discontinue unprecedented quantitative easing (QE) that infused trillions of dollars into Wall Street since 2008 without benefiting Main Street. Actual: Fed ended QE in October. Plus 1.
Prediction: A combination of disruptions will produce a challenging year for Wall Street. Actual: Nothing seems to impede the madness of Wall Street crowds. Can you say bubble? Minus 1.
Prediction: Obamacare’s constitutionality will be challenged by many lawsuits. Actual: Currently 104 lawsuits have been filed against Obamacare, including one before the Supreme Court. Plus 1.
Prediction: Democrats running for re-election in 2014 will run from the president. Actual: No Democrat wanted Mr. Obama anywhere near their campaign, but it still didn’t help. Plus 1.
Prediction: The GOP will regain control of the Senate and maintain a majority in the House in November. Actual: Republicans swept almost everything, from the Senator down to dog catcher at the local level. Plus 1.
Prediction: President Obama will prevail on immigration but will lose on minimum wage. Actual: Immigration win by Obama’s executive order but no minimum wage increase. Plus 1.
Prediction: Hillary Clinton will not announce her 2016 presidential intentions before the mid-term elections. Actual: Everyone knows she’s running; she just hasn’t announced yet. Plus 1.
Prediction: Auburn will defeat Florida State in the BCS Championship Game. Actual: Great game, but the Noles won 34-31. Minus 1.
Write this on a rock …
This year I’m 12 for 14, or 86%, taking my 14-year record to 73% (’08 was a rough year).
Jim Blasingame is author of the award-winning book, The Age of the Customer: Prepare for the Moment of Relevance.
When we asked a similar question in early September, 65% of you said things were trending well for the end of the year. As you can see, our new poll question on the economy prompted just short of that response, at 61%. And just as we’ve seen for almost six years, about one-fifth of small businesses are still struggling.
1. Republicans will be in control of both houses of Congress for the next two years. Most people who make payroll consider a GOP-led Congress to be an improvement if for no other reason than they’re not anti-business.
2. Gas prices are down almost a dollar from a year ago. That’s like a huge tax cut for the folks on both sides of the cash register.
Here’s hoping the winter isn’t too bad and we can carry some momentum into next year.
8% - Definitely increased customer activity and sales.
22% - Increased customer activity with some increase sales
56% - Customer activity and sales are about the same so far
14% - Our customer activity and sales have decreased.
We’ve been polling small business owners about the economy about four times a year since the Great Recession ended, and we’ve never been able to get more than a third of our respondents to say their economy was doing good or great. As you can see, last week’s poll was no different. Only about 30% said things were somewhat or definitely improving, with the other 70% saying the economy they saw was about the same or worse.
With the tax filling extension date coming this week, how do you feel about the taxes you pay?
69% - We pay too much in taxes, especially for what we get.
6% - We pay a lot of taxes, but it’s probably about right.
8% - Since we’re not profitable, we don’t play a lot of taxes.
17% - I would love to have enough profit to worry about taxes.