Small Business Outlook On The Economy

business (10)“The greatest barrier to success is the fear of failure.”
Sven Goran Eriksson

Although the quote may strike a nerve in some of us, it really does not apply to entrepreneurs.  When we look at the many responsibilities and jobs that a small business owner has, the fear of failure is not stopping them from pursuing their dreams.  The economy and policies in Washington have not been kind to small businesses, but a recent survey indicates that capital spending, sales, inventory accumulation, and hiring are rising in August.

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U.S. small business confidence slips in August

U.S. small business optimism dipped in August as owners worried about the economy’s near-term outlook, but gains in sales expectations and hiring plans hinted at a pick-up in the pace of economic growth.

The National Federation of Independent Business said on Tuesday its Small Business Optimism Index slipped 0.1 point to 94 last month.

While details of the survey were fairly mixed, key indicators such as planned hiring, capital spending, inventory accumulation and sales all advanced in August, suggesting an improvement in sentiment in the months ahead.

“Capital spending and inventory investment plans increased as well, all activities that would put some energy into GDP (gross domestic product) growth,” the NFIB said in a statement.

The Old Are Working, but Not the Young

This summer has seen a larger share of a certain group of people working than at any time in the last three decades, according to government figures.

That group is older people.

During the summer months this year, an average of 35.9 percent of men ages 65 to 69 had jobs. Similarly, 25.6 percent of women in the same age group were working. Both figures were records for any summer since such numbers became available in 1981. The rate of employment for women 70 to 74 is also higher than in any previous summer.

All other age groups over 60 came close to setting records. The share of men 60 to 64 with jobs was 57.2 percent, and the share of women in the same age group was 47.1 percent. Both were less than a half a percentage point short of the previous summer high.

An entrepreneur who turned a town around

Pam Dorr wanted to be part of the solution and not the problem. Her town was overrun by wild bamboo of all things and her local economy was on the skids. Here is what she did.

Dorr rode into Greensboro, Alabama when its main street was on life-support. Even the catfish had moved on.

“Seventy-five percent of the businesses downtown were vacant or abandoned,” she recalled.

But Dorr has a special gift: using whatever’s lying around to build possibility. In this particular case, she showed us a bicycle made of bamboo. “It’s an engineered bamboo tube in a hex shape lined with carbon fiber,” she explained.

Wild bamboo was a local nuisance. “It turns out it’s great for building bikes.” said Dorr.