Small Business Optimism Slides in June

For the second month in a row, small businesses expressed increasing pessimism about future economic conditions, according to a Thumbtack report.

smbs and thumbtack

In June, U.S. small business-owners indicated reduced optimism about the economy for the third month in a row, though sentiment about current and future conditions continues to be higher than it was one year ago, according to a Thumbtack and Bloomberg survey of more than 10,000 independent businesses.

For the second month in a row, small businesses expressed increasing pessimism about future economic conditions, which has been the largest contributor to the decline in overall sentiment.

However, inflation expectations continue to remain in check, having been mostly flat over the last six months, after a one-time jump in the middle of last year.

"What was surprising is that in general our survey results have been more positive than other readings of small business sentiment and haven't declined as much as I would've expected, given the very weak growth in output in Q1," Jon Lieber, Thumbtack’s chief economist, told eWEEK. "If you look at our survey responses generally, the small business owners on our platform are generally far more optimistic about the future than they generally feel about today, suggesting that one of the traits they share is confidence in the future of their business prospects."

Expectations of future credit conditions were the most resilient of the 11 indicators Thumbtack examined, continuing to reflect a general increase in the ease of obtaining loans over the last two years.

"Managing a small business can be a challenging, lonely affair," Lieber noted. "Do everything you can to make sure you are taking full advantage of all the amazing marketing channels that are available to you to help you find new customers, and be sure that you are always presenting your best self to potential customers no matter where they come across you, be it in person or online."

Interestingly, economic conditions in the south continue to be generally more positive than in the nation overall.

When asked why businesses in the south seem to be more optimistic than their northern counterparts, Lieber said Thumbtack is looking into this but admitted they don't have an entirely satisfactory answer yet.

"It could be a better regulatory climate or the fact that some of the fastest growing states in the country are in the south, creating new opportunities for business owners," he offered. "It could also be something as simple as the weather being warmer or Southerners generally having a more positive outlook, so we don't want to rule anything out yet."