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Small Businesses Collapsed During The Fourth Quarter Of 2023

The backbone of job creation in America is in danger of being broken …

Pearl Jam’s ‘Wishlist‘ has always been among my favorite songs. Eddie Vedder‘s line “I wish I was a messenger and all the news was good” is honestly how I wish my job was. Unfortunately, 2024 has many anticipating very little in the way of “good news.” The upcoming election, ongoing economic anemia, unsustainable federal debt, nonexistent border security and rising cultural tensions have many projecting the onset of an “inflection point” in our country.

Some are even pointing to a so-called “black swan event” this year – a paradigm-shifting or “extreme impact” occurrence like the 2008 subprime mortgage crisis or the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 that fundamentally reorders our society.

How well America survives such an “inflection point” will depend largely on the strength and resilience of its communities – which are built (or ought to be built) around middle class family units, neighborhoods, community-based education, religious organizations, nonprofits and (most importantly) small businesses.

During the Thanksgiving break a few weeks ago, I took at look at the status of small businesses in America – and it was depressing. According to a report from Alignable, a business networking platform, small- to mid-size businesses (SMBs) in America were limping into the holidays – with 49 percent indicating they were earning “half or less than they did monthly” prior to Covid.

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How did they end the year? Not well …

According to the latest Alignable survey data, 62 percent of SMB owners reported bringing in less revenue in the fourth quarter of the year than they did during the fourth quarter of 2022. That’s ten percentage points worse than expectations from the fall, when 52 percent of SMB owners said they anticipated a money-losing fourth quarter.

This isn’t a problem at the margins, either. A whopping 47 percent of SMB owners who lost money last quarter indicated they were “earning half or less of what they generated” in the fourth quarter of 2022. That’s nearly a third of small businesses … again, making half or less than they made a year ago.

And just to be clear: 2022 was no bang-up year for the economy.

“You might recall that Q4 2022 was not exactly a great time for many small businesses,” Alignable’s Chuck Casto noted. “This time last year, 58 percent said they made less in Q4 2022 than they did in Q4 2021, with 45 percent of that group reporting that they had generated half or less of what they earned in Q4 2021.”

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RELATED | SOUTH CAROLINA WORKFORCE STUCK IN NEUTRAL

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Alignable surveyed 5,040 randomly selected small business owners surveyed from December 1 through December 29, 2023, adding those results to historical data from more than 100,000 other small business owners.

To view the full report, click here.

As previously noted, this media outlet is an unapologetic champion of small businesses – whose owners are “always the ones getting squeezed (and) never the ones getting any help.” Policymakers are always ready to bail out companies “too big to fail” – or dole out subsidies to politically connected corporations – but small businesses and the individual consumers they rely on are never given any relief.

In fact, they are forced to pay for the bailouts and subsidies.

“Rather than doling out billions of dollars in subsidies to large corporations, Palmetto State lawmakers and executive branch leaders must instead embrace long-overdue individual income tax relief,” I noted last month. “Only then will our economy experience the sort of organic, ‘from-the-ground-up’ growth necessary to create and sustain small businesses – and the safe, prosperous and competitive communities they support.”

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR …

(Travis Bell Photography)

Will Folks is the founding editor of the news outlet you are currently reading. Prior to founding FITSNews, he served as press secretary to the governor of South Carolina and before that he was a bass guitarist and dive bar bouncer. He lives in the Midlands region of the state with his wife and seven (soon to be eight) children.

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3 comments

Losers gonna lose January 1, 2024 at 1:21 pm

“ Policymakers are always ready to bail out companies “too big to fail” – or dole out subsidies to politically connected corporations – but small businesses and the individual consumers they rely on are never given any relief.”

lol

Says the guy who’s a stay at home blogger and got a bailout from the taxpayers with a PPP loan he’ll never have to pay back.

MAGA people have ZERO self-awareness.

Reply
Tom January 2, 2024 at 11:20 am

It is the job of the House and the Senate to make border security laws. If they fail in doing that, they can’t rely on a President to do what Donald Trump did, which is ignore the existing law, because he did not like it. Republicans refuse to fix the law or provide more border security funding and funding to try the cases of asylum seekers who have rights under our current law. That said. How does illegal immigration negatively affect small businesses? It generally does not. Many small businesses are labor intensive and available labor is scarce in the US. We have near-record-low unemployment. In fact, we are very near what many economists consider zero unemployment. For many small businesses immigrants are a source of low-cost labor and new customers. Working immigrants work for less. Working immigrants buy food, clothing, gas, and rent places to live; things that are frequently provided by small businesses.

So as I have always said. If you want to stop illegal immigration, you must eliminate the draw. You do that by arresting people who employ illegal immigrants. From the hotelier, like DJT, to the home builders who hire construction workers, to the fruit farmer who hires pickers, to the yard maintenance businesses, to the housewife who hires a maid, nanny or caregiver. If you arrest them all, they will stop providing jobs to illegal immigrants and the draw will end. Or, you could come up with a reasonable guest worker program to fill the unfilled labor needs of mostly small businesses.

Taxes are not the problem. They are at near record lows, and lower than many times when our economy was booming and small business was thriving. In fact, the economy is doing very well right now for the big companies, but it was doing very well when their taxes were higher and the country had lower debt.

Reply
William Hamilton January 11, 2024 at 2:54 pm

Low wages are South Carolinas problem. Since businesses are only taxed on profit their taxes go down when their income goes down. South carolina’s taxes are fairly low and people receive a low quality of government services for their low taxes. This has been south carolina’s economic pattern for 2 hundred and fifty years.

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