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Small Business Weekly Forecast | US Chamber of Commerce

Small Business Weekly Forecast |  US Chamber of Commerce

We track the latest data on small business forecasts so you don't have to. Each week, Tom Sullivan analyzes new data from NFIB, Intuit, WSJ/Visage and more, to provide weekly economic forecasts for small businesses.

Latest forecasts

The small business forecast for this week is sunny with storm clouds on the horizon not approaching. More small-cap data showing year-end revenues as a springboard to optimism in 2024 is on our radar. There is still negativity towards the national economy due to high costs and difficulty recruiting. However, those clouds don't seem to be getting any closer this week.

He listens: Tom Sullivan and Holly Wade of the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) talk about their outlook for small businesses in a weekly podcast. Listen here.

He watches: Follow Tom Sullivan on ASBN (American Small Business Network) each month to provide the latest updates, news and analysis on small business policy. Watch here.

almost: The MetLife Index and US Chamber Small Business Index for the first quarter of 2024 will be released on April 2, 2024.

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New small business data

Intuit QuickBooks Black History Month Survey (February 1, 2024)

summary: A survey of more than 2,000 Black small business owners provides insight into the use of AI, hiring practices, intellectual property protection, and economic value.

  • 84% of Black-owned businesses innovated within their own operations in 2023, with the highest percentage (43%) innovating through new products or services, followed by new management processes (38%).

  • 80% of Black-owned businesses own a trademark, copyright, or patent, and 29% of businesses without intellectual property protection are not familiar with the process.

  • 84% of Black-owned businesses use AI to help run their business. 39% use AI to help generate ideas or spark inspiration and 36% use it to help support customers.

  • 17% of Black small business owners are concerned about how AI will impact their privacy. 16% of Black small business owners are concerned that AI will replace jobs and 14% are concerned about how AI will impact authenticity.

  • 70% of Black small business owners report being the first in their family to own a business.

  • 71% of Black-owned businesses hired employees in the past year, and on average, 49% of their employees are Black.

  • 32% of Black small business owners say their most important contribution is the money they bring into the economy, and 16% say jobs in their communities are most important. 15% of Black small business owners say that creating wealth by Black individuals tops the importance rankings, and 14% say that mentoring other Black small businesses is most important.

Goldman Sachs Small Business Votes 10,000 Poll (February 1, 2024)

summary: A survey of 1,459 Goldman Sachs respondents and 10,000 small businesses reveals a bullish approach to 2024 despite rising inflation, tight credit and worker shortages.

  • 75% of small business owners are optimistic about financing their business in 2024 and 62% expect profitability to increase.

  • 28% of small business owners have a positive view of the national economy, 27% have a negative view, and 44% rate the economy as “fair.”

  • 71% of small business owners reported that inflationary pressures on their businesses increased over the past three months, and 33% rated last year as the most difficult year to run their business since 2020.

  • 40% of small business owners who applied for a loan or line of credit in the past 12 months received all the financing they requested, and 86% of small business owners believe their growth will stall if credit tightens.

  • 57% of small business owners expect to add employees this year, and 81% are having difficulty hiring quality employees.

The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) January jobs report (February 1, 2024)

summary: The good news is that consumers continue to spend. The bad news is that small businesses still struggle to find good employees.

  • 39% of small businesses reported openings they were unable to fill in January (one point lower than December and still well above the 49-year average of 23%).

  • 55% of small businesses hired or tried to hire in January (unchanged from December). Among those hiring, 89% of owners reported having few or no qualified job applicants (also unchanged from December).

  • 15% of small business owners plan to create new jobs within the next three months (down one point from December).

  • 39% of companies raised compensation in January (up 3 points from December) and 26% of small business owners plan to increase compensation in the next three months (down 3 points from December).

  • 30% of small businesses have jobs for skilled workers (down 3 points from December) and 15% have jobs for unskilled workers (up 1 point from December).

Wall Street Journal/Small Business CEO Confidence Index (January 29, 2024)

summary: The index reaches its highest point in 12 months and is full of positivity except for the concern felt by small employers about rising labor costs.

  • 23% of small business owners say the economy is better than it was 12 months ago (up 3 points from December) and 36% say the economy has gotten worse over the past year (8 points down from December).

  • 48% of small businesses plan to increase headcount in 2024 (down 9 points from December).

  • Staffing challenges impact the ability of 44% of small businesses to operate at full capacity (unchanged from December).

  • 32% of small businesses expect fixed investments to increase in 2024 (down 1 point from December).

  • 60% of small businesses are optimistic about expected revenue in the next 12 months (down 2 points from December). 52% believe that profitability will improve (up 3 points from December) and 15% believe that profitability will contract (down 3 points from December).

  • 59% of small businesses believe wages will be the largest source of inflation throughout 2024.

MetLife and U.S. Chamber of Commerce Small Business Index for Q4 (December 12, 2023)

summary: Negativity towards the national economy persists, but confidence in small business cash flow remains strong.

  • The index decreased by 8 points from the third quarter to the level of 61.3, returning to the levels of confidence it was at earlier this year and in line with the fourth quarter in 2022.

  • A higher percentage of small businesses are negative about the US economy (53%) (up 10 points from last quarter) and 25% are positive about the overall health of the economy (down 8 points).

  • This is the eighth consecutive quarter in which inflation ranked as the top concern for small businesses (50%) and the second top concern was revenue (22%).

  • 42% of small businesses plan to increase investment in the next 12 months (unchanged from the last two quarters) and 40% of small businesses plan to add employees (unchanged from last quarter). The percentage of small businesses expecting revenue to increase remains high (65%), albeit 6 points below the record highs recorded in the last two quarters.

  • 64% of small businesses believe their business health is good (down 2 points from last quarter) and 67% feel comfortable with current cash flow (down 5 points, but in line with Q4 2022).

  • 45% of small employers looked for new talent in 2023, and 60% said it was difficult to keep up with salary expectations.

Discover more small business data

The MetLife and U.S. Chamber of Commerce Small Business Index is released quarterly to provide a comprehensive quantitative snapshot of the small business sector and explore small business owners' perspectives on the latest economic and business trends.

About the authors

thomas m.  sullivan

thomas m. sullivan

Thomas M. Sullivan is Vice President of Small Business Policy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Working with chambers of commerce and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce network nationwide, Sullivan works to harness the views of small businesses and translate that grassroots power into federal policies that promote free enterprise and reward entrepreneurship. Runs the United States

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