Thursday, September 2, 2010

Small Business Sentiment Worsens Dramatically: Discover

Sometimes the news just wants to make you jump in a hole and hide. Instead of a Summer of Recovery, or at least a "zero summer", Rasmussen polling on behalf of Discover(R) Small Business Watch shows Small Business Confidence Plummets. Here are some quotes:

Small business owners’ confidence in the economy soured significantly from July to August in the largest one-month decline since November 2009 . . .

In August, 62 percent of small business owners said the economy is getting worse and a record 55 percent of small business owners expect economic conditions for their businesses to be unfavorable in the next six months, up 10 percentage points from July. Those indicators led the drop in confidence from 83 on the index in July to 73 in August.

Confidence was at a record low among small business owners who sell directly to consumers. Those small businesses slid 17.4 points since last month to a record-low 65.5 points on the index, compared to business-to-business operators who marked 79 on the index in August, down only 2.2 points from July.
. .

August marks the third straight monthly decline in the index, which is the lowest it has been in 18 months on the 4-year-old index. In July, the Watch reported that 75 percent of small business owners expected a second recession to occur before the country sees a full recovery.

The especially weak consumer spending environment would be even weaker were it not for large governmental transfer payments. The lack of real improvement in consumer spending is supported by Gallup's ongoing polling of consumer spending, which is mired in the roughly $65/day range it has been in since the post-Lehman collapse.

Many economic signs continue to point to the Japanese-Grecian ("Japanecian") scenario playing out in the U. S. It appears fair to say that with Federal interest payments pushing $200 B annually against revenues not much more than 10X that, matters are getting curiouser and curiouser. Will the Feds double their borrowing and have the Fed and the banking system buy enough government debt to halve the interest rates again?

There certainly is precedent for pricing in the earlier stages of a bubble to go much, much higher before the bubble bursts.

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