Small business optimism is now standing at its lowest level since November

This comes on the heels of six consecutive months of improvements in small business optimism

By ·

Fueled by a sense that rising energy prices might trip up economic growth, small business owners became less optimistic in March, said analysts with IHS Global Insight. This comes on the heels of six consecutive months of improvements in small business optimism.

Furthermore, respondents expecting the economy to be worse in six months outweighed those expecting a better economy. Small business optimism is now standing at its lowest level since November.

After six consecutive months of improved outlook of future revenue, small business owners became less optimistic that sales will increase in the next three months. This is very problematic in light of increased fuel costs.

In an interview with SCMR, economist Leslie Levesque said that retailer’s inventories are not likely to increase.

“Retailers have been keeping their stock at appropriate levels,” she said.

The higher fuel cost appears to have already trickled down, placing pressure on small businesses in charging more for their goods and services, however. The net percent of small business owners planning to raise prices in the next three months jumped to 6 percent, its highest reading since September.

“With a more lackluster outlook on inflation, sales and overall business conditions, it is no wonder employment expectations weakened,” said Levesque. “The drop in net respondents planning to hire brought the reading to its lowest point in almost a year. This is consistent with last Friday’s disappointing employment report.”

According to IHS, this is not a good report.

“The hit to small business optimism was expected and any relief in the near term will be limited as they try to cope with rising fuel costs. Small businesses expect lower sales, higher costs, and feel pressure to increase their prices.

“They are feeling squeezed,” said Levesque. “Under these conditions it is no surprise they do not feel like going on a hiring spree anytime soon.”


About the Author

Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor
Patrick Burnson is executive editor for Logistics Management and Supply Chain Management Review magazines and web sites. Patrick is a widely-published writer and editor who has spent most of his career covering international trade, global logistics, and supply chain management. He lives and works in San Francisco, providing readers with a Pacific Rim perspective on industry trends and forecasts. You can reach him directly at pburnson@peerlessmedia.com.

Subscribe to Modern Materials Handling Magazine!

Subscribe today. It's FREE!
Find out what the world’s most innovative companies are doing to improve productivity in their plants and distribution centers.
Start your FREE subscription today!

Article Topics

· All Topics
Latest Whitepaper
Download: Material Handling Technology Survey Results
Readers are buying and replacing warehousing and distribution center software, but not before they do their own homework.
Download Today!
From the July 2017 Modern Materials Handling Issue
Shuttle and case dispensing technologies help Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits keep up with demand in one of the most competitive markets in the country.
Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits: Designed to Last
Automation: What’s at the heart of your system?
View More From this Issue
Subscribe to Our Email Newsletter
Sign up today to receive our FREE, weekly email newsletter!
Latest Webcast
Warehouse Execution Systems (WES): The Pathway to Same-Day Fulfillment
This webinar explores the processes and technologies enabling same-day, same-hour order fulfillment using intelligent supply chain software.
Register Today!
EDITORS' PICKS
Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits: Designed to Last
On Long Island, the country’s premier distributor of wine and spirits turned to shuttle and case...
GE Healthcare System Report: Lean repairs
Self-driving mobile robots improve cycle times and reduce floor space at GE Healthcare’s new...

Materials Handling Innovation (and why it matters)
Every company considers itself an innovator. It’s time to include materials handling leaders in...
Thrive Market’s Startup Distribution Network
How does a fastgrowing, e-commerce startup company build out order fulfillment capabilities? Thrive...