National Survey: Small Businesses Report Decline in Economic Conditions

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FacebookTwitterGoogleLinkedInEmail this page Releases Monthly Economic Sentiment Survey of 10,000 Small Businesses in the United States; Inflation Expectations Remain in Check

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – today released the third installment of its Small Business Sentiment Survey, a monthly survey of more than 10,000 independent businesses in the U.S. Designed with Bloomberg, the survey is housed and integrated into the economic functions of the Bloomberg Professional service.

The report is unique both in its ability to survey a large number of small businesses on a regular basis and in its focus on businesses with five employees or fewer. Small establishments such as these make up 90 percent of small businesses in the country (according to the U.S. Economic Census), yet, due to their size, are difficult for other researchers or government statisticians to reach. Thumbtack can collect responses from among its user base of 150,000 active service professionals, most of who are sole proprietors in service industries.

In June, respondents nationwide indicated reduced optimism about the economy for the third month in a row, though sentiment about current and future conditions continues to be higher than it was one year ago.

Key findings include:

  • For the second month in a row, small businesses expressed increasing pessimism about future economic conditions; this has been the largest contributor to the decline in overall sentiment.
  • Inflation expectations continue to remain in check, having been mostly flat over the last six months after a one-time jump in the middle of last year.
  • Expectations of future credit conditions were the most resilient of the 11 indicators Thumbtack looked at, continuing to reflect a general increase in the ease of obtaining loans over the last two years.
  • Economic conditions in the South continue to be generally more positive than in the nation overall.

Small Business Sentiment Visualization Small Business Sentiment Index: Southern States continue to report stronger economic conditions than the rest of the country

“The third monthly release of Thumbtack’s Small Business Sentiment Index reflects a slowdown in economic conditions that started at the beginning of the year,” said Thumbtack’s Chief Economist Jon Lieber. “The small businesses we survey provide personal services to families across America, and by studying their sentiment in real time we can get an advanced look into the outlook for American household spending.”

Thumbtack has created a data visualization to capture the results of this survey nationally and in each state and city for which responses were submitted, along with quotes from professionals surveyed. The visualization offers detailed demographic breakdowns of survey responses across self-reported factors such as age, gender, ethnic origin, and employer status.  Separate pages are available for each state and city included in the index.

Bloomberg Professional service customers can access this data and additional industry level analysis at {ECST T TACKUSBS <GO>}.

About the Thumbtack Small Business Economic Sentiment Survey has surveyed tens of thousands of small businesses quarterly since December 2012. The survey asked questions about how small businesses are feeling about the general economic environment and the health of their business, such as:
  • How would you rate your company’s financial situation today?
  • Have you attempted to fill any part-time or full-time positions over the past three months?
  • How do you expect the prices you charge to your clients or customers to change over the next three months? and Bloomberg then used the survey responses to create a weighted index that demonstrates Small Business Economic Sentiment in one easy-to-understand number between 0 and 100 – an index score above 50 means sentiment is positive; an index score below 46 means sentiment is negative.  The full methodology paper can be found here.

In March 2015, Thumbtack began collecting results on a monthly basis. Results are released the Tuesday before the first Friday of the month; the data visualization on Thumbtack’s website is updated on the same day.

About Thumbtack

Launched in December 2009 and headquartered in San Francisco, Thumbtack is a consumer service that connects millions of customers in the U.S. to experienced professionals who are available, interested and qualified to meet their specific needs. Thumbtack service professionals represent more than 150,000 small businesses in more than 950 categories, helping customers with 5+ million projects per year. Thumbtack has raised a total of $150 million from Sequoia Capital, Tiger Global Management, Javelin Venture Partners, and Google Capital.

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