Small manufacturers and retailers are losing confidence in the national economy yet remain upbeat about their own prospects.
That’s the finding of a third quarter survey of 1,000 companies released last week by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and MetLife. Sixty-three percent of manufacturing companies surveyed were optimistic about the economy, down from 69% in a second quarter survey. Fifty-three percent of retailers were optimistic, down from 59%.
The drop in optimism wasn’t surprising given the challenges both industries face. Manufacturers have contended with the Trump administration’s tariffs on imports from China, and that country’s retaliatory tariffs on U.S.-made goods; the duties have raised expenses for manufacturers and have also depressed revenue for some companies. Retailers are also dealing with tariffs on Chinese-made goods and are seeing consumers becoming more cautious as the economy has shown signs of weakening this year.