Recession fears may be calming, but several indicators are still flashing for 2024.
Experian and Oxford Economics have released the Q2 2023 Main Street Report, the report brings deep insight into the overall financial well-being of the small-business landscape, as well as provides commentary around what specific trends mean for credit grantors and the small-business community.
During Q2, lenders adjusted underwriting criteria to limit exposure as delinquencies remained elevated for consumers and small businesses. The markets dealt with inflation above target and customers reevaluated their discretionary spending and growth investment strategies.
Not all segments of the markets were impacted by environmental forces. Technology-focused companies are leading investment and growth, while logistic, utility, and healthcare struggle, Supply chain disruptions are smoothing, but lighter forecasted demand is already impacting inventory reorders.
The softer demand is hitting trucking and logistic companies hard as tonnage, and mileage are lighter than forecasted as consumers return to the in-person experience and engage with eroded purchasing power. The bright spot is consumer resiliency. This prolonged spending strength is fueled by a tight labor market, wage growth, and relief in energy and food costs.
Another element is savings. Dwindling savings, increased reliance on unsecured debt to support spending behavior, reassumption of monthly debt servicing obligations (student loan payments), and prolonged inflation place downward pressure on the consumer. Recession fears may be calming, but several indicators are still flashing for 2024.