A majority of small business owners believe the U.S. economy is in recession and overall U.S. investor optimism is down, according to separate polls recently conducted by U.S. Bank and Wells Fargo.
Small business owners say the economy may have improved this year but 71 percent say the economy is in a recession, according to 3,220 small business owners interviewed in the U.S. Bank Small Business Annual Survey. The survey found, however, that more small business owners consider the financial health of their company to be good to excellent. Sales volatility is less of a concern now than in years past, and the No. 1 business issue on their minds is health care reform.
Overall U.S. investor optimism fell to 24 from 40 three months earlier, according to the latest Wells Fargo/ Gallup Investor and Retirement Optimism Index. The decline was driven by increased investor pessimism about the future course of the overall economy. The optimism of retired respondents fell to 17, down from 38 in February. The survey included 1,018 respondents.
One in three investors say low interest rates will cause them to delay retirement. Forty-five percent of nonretired Americans and 34 percent of retirees fear that current low interest rates may cause them to outlive their money in retirement. A little more than a quarter of non-retired and 19 percent of retired say low interest rates will cause them to put money in investments they "might have avoided." Thirty- two percent of investors think today's low interest rates are likely to lead to a sharp increase in inflation in the years ahead.