Small business checkup: Recession, inflation, lending top concerns

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Fears of an economic slowdown are weighing on the minds of America’s small business owners, who cite recession, inflation and a decrease in access to capital as major concerns, according to new data.

The Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council (SBE) released its Small Business Checkup Survey on Thursday, which found 85% of owners expressed concern about an economic slowdown or recession in the coming months. 

COMPANIES’ COST INFLATION IS SLOWING BUT SHOPPERS MAY WAIT FOR LOWER PRICES

According to the findings, a culmination of factors could be at play, including historically high inflation, the Federal Reserve’s attempts to tamp it down with aggressive interest rate hikes, and the recent regional banking crisis that started with the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank in March.

small business owner

Some 73% of respondents told the surveyors that inflation was having either a somewhat or very negative impact on their businesses, with 55% answering that their revenues have not kept pace with rising prices over the past year. Fifty-seven percent said they plan to cut back on business spending as a result.

HOW SMALL- TO MEDIUM-SIZED BUSINESSES CAN NAVIGATE LENDING CRISIS

Energy costs, in particular, were named as a major source of pain, with 58% saying such expenses were negatively impacting their business.

Help wanted sign

Another 60% of small business owners said their operations were being hurt by rising interest rates, and more than half said they were feeling the effects of a credit crunch with 54% answering that is now more difficult to find or obtain capital than it was six months ago.

The tight labor market employers have experienced for more than two years is still lingering, too. Forty percent of owners told the SBE access to skilled workers was hurting their operations.

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