Outlook Grows Bleak on Main Street

Source: Wall Street Journal

In the eyes of the average small business, the U.S. economy is still in a recession and likely to stay that way through 2012.

While revenues are in line with or higher than they were last year for many on Main Street, the outlook for hiring and business in general is bleak, according to a broad-reaching survey to be released Thursday. Small-business owners say a continued lack of financing, coupled with rising commodity prices and weak overall sales, is to blame.

John Bradshaw, left, runs Portland Transmission Warehouse, an auto-parts distributor in Portland, Ore., with his son, Ross, right. The elder Mr. Bradshaw anticipates a double-dip recession.

The new survey, commissioned by U.S. Bancorp, is one of several reports to come out in recent weeks painting a more dismal picture for American small businesses than previously perceived. Last month, payroll company Automatic Data Processing Inc. reported an increase in private-sector jobs of just 38,000, down from an increase of 177,000 jobs in April. Also last month, the National Federation of Independent Business’s small-business optimism index dropped 0.3 point to 90.9, its third consecutive month of decline.

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