US Small-Business Sentiment Remains Subdued on Sour Outlook

(Bloomberg) — US small-business sentiment in May held close to the lowest level in a decade on dimmer views about the outlook for sales, the economy and credit conditions.

The National Federation of Independent Business optimism index ticked up to 89.4 from an April reading of 89 that was the weakest since January 2013, the group said Tuesday.

A measure of sales expectations fell for a third month to the lowest since July. Sentiment about future business conditions also deteriorated and a gauge of expected credit conditions slid to the lowest level since the end of 2012.

While many larger companies have the wherewithal to navigate higher interest rates, stubborn inflation and persistent labor challenges, many small businesses are feeling the squeeze.

“Overall, small business owners are clearly in a recession mood, expressing great concern for future business conditions,” NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg said in a statement. “Supply chain disruptions and labor shortages will continue to limit the ability of many small firms to meet the demand for their products and services.”

While a few owners said they raised prices in the prior three months, a greater share plans to boost them. A larger share also reported boosting worker compensation.

©2023 Bloomberg LP

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