From: Reuters
Published April 16, 2008 12:30 AM

Small businesses nervous over economy: survey

DETROIT (Reuters) - A majority of small and medium-sized businesses say the U.S. economy is in worse shape than five years ago and nearly half expect a recession in the next year, according to a survey released on Wednesday.

Also, more than half of respondents said they have faced difficulty securing credit over the past year as the global credit crunch has taken hold.

The National Small Business Association's 2008 NSBA Survey of Small and Mid-Sized Business found that 71 percent of respondents said the economy is worse than five years ago - up from 43 percent in 2007.

Small businesses are often described as the backbone of the U.S. job market. Groups like NSBA have cited growing concerns among members that the U.S. housing crisis could lead to a full-blown recession.

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"Our survey shows plain and clear how the economic slowdown is affecting small business," NSBA President Todd McCracken said in a statement. "This year, a whopping 71 percent (of respondents) have a negative outlook on the economy - clearly small business is feeling the pinch."

Forty-five percent of survey participants said they expect the U.S. economy to slide into recession in the coming year and 55 percent said they had found it harder to obtain credit over the past year.

The number of respondents seeking bank loans for financing fell to 28 percent, the lowest figure since the NSBA began running the annual survey in 1993, from 29 percent a year ago.

(Reporting by Nick Carey, editing by Editing by Tim Dobbyn)

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