US small business optimism down for 15th straight month

WASHINGTON, April 11 (Xinhua) -- March saw U.S. small business optimism fall for the 15th consecutive month, amid worries over record inflation and high interest rates.

New York City street vendors and supporters rally on March 16, 2023, outside City Hall, calling for reform to legitimize street businesses. (Photo: AFP)

March marked the 15th month in a row that the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) Small Business Optimism Index stood below the nearly 50-year average of 98.

The March figure came in at 90.1, down a hair from 90.9 in February, but still below healthy levels.

"While prospects for the economy continue to dim, the widely expected recession has not yet appeared," according to the NFIB.

"Fourth quarter growth was shaded down to 2.6 percent, inventory accumulation accounted for 60 percent of the total growth. Weakness in residential construction took 1.2 percentage points off of the growth rate and will continue to be a negative in the first quarter numbers. Hiring plans fell to their lowest level since May 2020," said the NFIB.

Some small businesses have expressed concern that a banking crisis could occur, after the recent crash of Silicon Valley Bank sparked ripple effects that hit regional banks.