News Column

Barlow Research Finds That Small Business Confidence Decreased in the Third Quarter but Remained Positive

August 6, 2014

MINNEAPOLIS--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- After a promising first half of 2014, the small business market ($100K-<$10MM) retreated on many economic metrics in the third quarter. Conversely, the middle market ($10MM-<$500MM) remained confident. Barlow Research’s third quarter 2014 Economic Pulse Survey explored business confidence, credit appetite, retirement and the importance/performance of various branch attributes.

Small businesses’ future expectations for the U.S. economy, their company’s overall financial condition, industry’s overall financial condition, sales and profits all saw decreases in the third quarter but remained positive. However, small businesses and middle market companies did indicate a need to increase the hiring of full-time employees.

“External factors such as the Fed Policy on interest rates, geopolitical tension and sales demand will continue to weigh on the confidence of small business and middle market companies,” says Ray Johns, Managing Partner, Barlow Research.

Applications for additional credit decreased marginally in both small business and middle market. Once again, the percentage of small businesses that have no current need for additional credit or do not borrow increased, suggesting that the market is weak due to a lack of demand rather than diminishing supply.

Other important results from the third quarter 2014 Economic Pulse report:

  • The most substantial decrease in small business future expectations was regarding the expected overall financial condition.
  • Forty-one percent of small businesses and 27% of middle market companies do not intend to retire.
  • Having a knowledgeable staff and convenient locations were the two most important branch attributes among small businesses.

    About Barlow Research Associates, Inc.:

    Barlow Research Associates, Inc., founded in 1980, provides research and consulting services to the banking industry in the U.S. and overseas with specialties in custom research, strategic consulting and syndicated research programs for small business, middle market and digital banking.

    For more information on the study, contact Bernie Kuechler, Director of Data Analytics at or 763-253-1830.

    Barlow Research Associates, Inc.

    Bernie Kuechler, 763-253-1830

    Director of Data Analytics

    Source: Barlow Research Associates, Inc.

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    Source: Business Wire

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