WASHINGTON — Few small-business owners believe that the economic stimulus legislation is helping them, according to the National Small Business Association’s (NSBA) mid-year economic report.
Only 3% of the small-business owners polled think the stimulus has had a positive impact on their businesses. More than 70% have seen no impact from the stimulus package, and 24% think the bill has had a negative impact.
The report also indicated that the small-business community is barely hanging on in the midst of the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, NSBA says. Ninety-four percent of the small businesses surveyed said the national economy today is worse off than five years ago, and those who think the economy is doing much worse jumped from 64% in December 2008 to 75% in July 2009.
“Nearly half of small businesses, up from a third six months ago, are not confident about the future of their own business,” says Todd McCracken, NSBA president. “The ongoing erosion of confidence from traditionally upbeat entrepreneurs is a wakeup call to lawmakers that small business may not be able to tread water much longer.”
Three key indicators — revenues, profits and employee size — all declined between December 2008 and July 2009, the survey shows. The number of small businesses hiring new employees in the past 12 months dropped from 18% in December to 9% in July. Sixty-two percent experienced a decrease in revenues, and 66% reported a decrease in profits.
Access to capital is also an issue, with 80% of small-business owners negatively impacted by the credit crunch — up from 67% last year. Thirty-eight percent were subject to a decrease on their lines of credit or credit cards.
“We’re struggling. Despite several economic stimulus packages and lots of talk, only 3% of small businesses reported a positive impact of the stimulus bills on their business,” says Keith Ashmus, NSBA chair and co-founding partner at Frantz Ward LLP, Cleveland, Ohio. “America’s small businesses need and deserve better.”