As the presidential debate season intensifies, small-business owners are pessimistic about the business climate and feel America is on the wrong track, according to a new survey.
The wide-ranging survey, "Opinions of Small Employers," from the conservative-leaning National Federation of Independent Business released Monday found nearly 70 percent of small-business owners believe the overall U.S. business climate is fair or poor. What's more, six years out of the Great Recession, 63 percent of those polled said the country is on the wrong track. The NFIB surveyed 500 business owners with up to 250 employees.
"Small-business owners just aren't convinced that things are headed in the right direction," said Holly Wade, director of research at the NFIB. The survey was conducted during the second quarter of this year.
The report comes as optimism among small businesses is holding steady, but still lingering below historical averages.The NFIB's Small Business Optimism Index for September, released separately Tuesday, found confidence edged up slightly to 96.1 last month. But fewer business owners expect strong sales.
Looking ahead to the 2016 election year, the NFIB found business owners believe Washington should prioritize dealing with the federal budget as their top economic problem with a third of the vote, followed by slowing the rise of health-care costs with 23 percent and reforming the federal tax code with 18 percent.