Small business confidence in the economy continues its descent, with 54% indicating a poor outlook on the recovery in March, a figure having climbed from 41% in February. This is an unfortunate trend seen over the past 19 months, given a majority of small business owners have held this perspective during this time, but this is the greatest majority since September of last year. On the bright side, 27% feel conditions are improving, although this is down from the previous month figure of 34%, while 15% see no change in the economy, down from 20% in February. These findings are according to the March Discover “Small Business Watch” monthly barometer of economic confidence, which overall dropped to 86.5 from 90.2 in February.
A huge factor in all this is the skyrocketing gas prices we have seen throughout the first half of the year, to which 76% of small business owners have lost profits and 90% disclosed either a somewhat negative or very negative impact. This is partly to blame for the 42% whom say conditions are getting worse, up from 40% in February; the only 30% indicating they feel the economy is getting better, down from 33%; and the 24% perceiving no change, down from 25%. Overall, 56% rate the current U.S. economy as poor for no change from the month prior; 35% rate it as fair, up from 32 percent; a mere 6% says its good, down from 7%; and 3% say the economy is excellent for no change since February.