How well did the economy do in February? According to a recent Time Magazine article, retail sales rose strongly, signaling that recession-weary shoppers may finally be opening their wallets. The revival of the US consumer in recent months has been cheered by economists as a sign that the recovery is on a more solid footing.
But for small business owners, economic confidence in February was flat. According to the Discover Small Business Watch, owners expect economic conditions to largely stay the same in the coming months.
The economic stimulus package enacted a year ago has helped stabilize the economy, according to the Washington Post, but has not made a noticeable dent in the nation’s vast unemployment. That is part of the reason why President Obama expects Congress to pass additional measures that will help small-business owners create new jobs and give them more of an incentive to hire.
Federal Stimulus Efforts are already doing as much as possible, like offering Small Business Administration loans. However, Small Business owners remain uninterested; 91 percent of owners say that they have never applied for an SBA loan, up 1 percentage point from October 2009.Of those who have never applied for an SBA loan, 54% say they did not need one; 13% would rather use personal assets, 13% received a loan from another source, 11% are unfamiliar with the programs and 6% say it takes too much time. At the same time, 61% of small business owners are “not very likely” or “not at all likely” to apply for a SBA loan if they become easier to get.
In addition to not taking advantage of the Federal Stimulus programs, 70% of owners say that the stimulus efforts have had no impact on their businesses. More than that: 17% say it has actually hurt their businesses!