Small business edges toward a cliff

This is not exactly encouraging. The Wall Street Journal conducts a monthly survey of businesses with annual revenue between $1 million and $20 million, called the Vistage Index.

Among other things, WSJ asks owners when they expect business conditions to improve and how long their cash reserves will hold out under current conditions.

In its May survey, 60% of retailers said they don’t expect business to pick up until sometime in 2021. Just 40% say they have the cash reserves to last that long.

Likewise, 53% of wholesalers say a recovery won’t come until 2021 and 32% have the cash to get by until then. Contractors are a little better off—53% are looking for a 2021 recovery and 46% have the cash to wait it out.

So far everyone has been pleasantly surprised that housing hasn’t crashed like so many other sectors. It doesn’t mean we’re out of the woods; things are going to get tighter before they get better.

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