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August FEI: Small Businesses Continue to be the Backbone of America

Today RedBalloon, in partnership with PublicSq., released the Freedom Economy Index (FEI) for August. Its findings show what small business owners' are thinking about the economy, politics, and overall business environment.

One of the key takeaways is that there been a marked downturn in future economic sentiment. But at the same time, small business owners are remaining resilient when it comes to hiring and expanding their business. Additionally, the Index shows how these businesses are reacting to political turmoil.

Here are some of the key findings:

  • The small business community soured on the US economic future, with a nearly 6% drop in optimism from July’s survey and a 10% spike in the number of respondents who say we’re headed into a “major recession.”

  • 91.6% of respondents feel the United States is strongly on the “wrong track” and 95.6% say Joe Biden’s handling of the economy has been “harmful.” That’s up 9.0% from July.

  • While the governments’ measures of consumer and wholesale inflation are dropping, small businesses are feeling inflation’s impacts more than ever. 70.6% of respondents list inflation as an ongoing major challenge to their business, and 91.7% strongly agree that inflation is “still a big problem and government reports do not accurately reflect inflation’s ongoing impact.”

Looking at these numbers it may look discouraging, but you can also see a different, more hopeful trend emerging from these same businesses.

  • August saw a 4.5% increase of those who say they are hiring either to expand their business or to simply fill current openings.

  • Over 40% of respondents are optimistic about the trajectory of their business with another 20% saying they see ups and downs in the near future.

These results illuminate the nature and interests of what we call the "Freedom Economy," a potent and growing economic sector that continues to forge ahead.

These businesses are noticing the worrying trends in American politics and the economy, but they are unwilling to let that stymie their growth plans. They are looking to expand their teams and innovate despite the looming clouds of economic and political difficulty.

In times of uncertainty, small businesses serve as the backbone of our economy. Their experiences and perspectives are not only informative to understanding the US economy at large, but also crucial for crafting policies and understanding the interests of America.

Download the full results here.


The Freedom Economy Index is a joint survey of more than 50,000 businesses in the databases of PublicSq. and

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