As if we needed anymore downward-looking economic news… US business leaders have turned pessimistic, according to Grant Thornton LLP’s most recent Business Optimism Index. Only 45% now believe the US economy will improve in the next six months (down from almost two-thirds three months ago). While 40% plan to increase staff, that’s a drop from 49%, and 12% plan to decrease staff (a slight uptick from the 10% responding three months prior). The quarterly survey was conducted two weeks ago, with 377 senior executives from various industries across the country participating.
Here are a few more survey results:
- One out of five US business leaders are “very or somewhat pessimistic” about their own businesses—up from 13%.
- Sixty-four percent don’t believe that the Dodd Frank Act (which celebrates its first anniversary in July) will improve accountability and transparency in the US financial system.
A laundry list of concerns continues to hit US businesses, says Grant Thornton CEO Stephen Chipman. “Soaring energy costs and Japanese manufacturing supply-chain disruptions are weighing heavily, as are unresolved US debt-reduction issues and a corporate tax rate that still puts the US at a global competitive disadvantage.”
My Thoughts: The past month has been full of bad economic stats from manufacturing declines and record low home values to unemployment rates going back up. What we don’t need is a return to the mindset of late 2008 when one bad stat or economic news story after another seemed to accelerate us toward The Great Recession. The media loves bad news because that’s what sells newspapers and broadcast-ad minutes.
Now, I’m not dumb enough to believe that “the power of positive thinking” will solve all our problems. But I am smart enough to know that people do get stuck in downward ruts that feed on themselves. Don’t let today’s negative economic news make you think tomorrow’s must be inevitably worse. Don’t be sucked into the “double-dip recession” idea. Enough with the self-fulfilling prophecies!