Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Entrepreneurs' confidence sinks in U.S.

A Bloomberg story in today’s National Post reports that small business confidence has sunk to a 28-year low. Business owners say they're scaling back their hiring and spending plans.

The National Federation of Independent Business's "Optimism Index" declined last month from 92.9 in February to 89.6, the lowest reading since the second quarter of 1980.

"These are recession readings," says NFIB chief economist William Dunkelberg. "The sharp decline in job creation plans does not augur well for economic growth in the near term."

The share of owners expecting to create jobs over the next three months dropped 8 percentage points to 3%, the lowest reading since March 2003. Those expecting to spend more on new equipment and construction over the next six months fell 1 percentage point, to 25%.

You can read more depressing statistics here.

Continuing the recession theme, my column in yesterday’s Post dealt with marketing in tough times – a topic which now looks even more apt. While the business slowdown will be less pronounced in Canada than in the U.S., all marketers should be reviewing their budgets and revising their plans given the gloomy outlook in the U.S. (which is not only our nearest neighbour but by far our most important trading partner).

What should marketers do? Focus on direct marketing for faster payback. And tweak your approaches (and measure the results) so you know which initiatives, offers and pitches work best.
Here's the link to "Market wisely in tough times."

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