47.2% of Businesses Reported Their Current Performance as Average in July 31 - August 13, 2023

Biweekly Business Trends - United States - July 31 - August 13, 2023

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• Survey reflects diverse business performance levels, including average, above average, and below average, showcasing a mix of optimism and challenges.

• Respondents express a varied outlook, with optimism evident in expectations of above-average performance, while most anticipate an average performance level.

• Survey highlights the complexities of prediction, as confidence wanes for longer time frames, emphasizing the challenges of foreseeing distant outcomes.


In the ever-shifting landscape of the business world, staying attuned to market trends and forecasting future performance is a key determinant of success for small businesses. The U.S. Census Bureau’s recent Business Trends and Outlook Survey offers valuable insights into the current and anticipated performance of businesses, along with their ability to predict future outcomes. Let’s delve into the survey’s findings to understand its implications for the small business community.

Current Performance: 47.2% of businesses reported their current performance as Average in July 31 - August 13, 2023

The survey provides a snapshot of businesses’ current performance across various sectors. Respondents shared their perception of performance levels, which were categorized as Above average, Average, Below average, Excellent, and Poor. The findings indicate a range of performance levels, showcasing a mix of optimism and realism among businesses.

Majority of businesses rated their performance as Average, suggesting a balanced perspective. A significant portion considered their performance Above average or Excellent, reflecting positive sentiment. Some respondents described their performance as Below average or Poor, revealing challenges for certain businesses.

Future Performance: 50.2% of businesses reported their future performance as Average in July 31 - August 13, 2023

Anticipating future performance is vital for strategic planning. The survey asked respondents to project how they would describe their business’s performance in the coming months. The responses revealed a varied outlook.

The majority envisioned their performance as Average, suggesting a cautious yet steady expectation. A notable percentage expected their performance to be Above average, indicating optimism. Some respondents foresaw their performance as Below average, acknowledging potential challenges.

Forecast Horizon: 32.9% of businesses reported their forecast horizon as 4-6 months in July 31 - August 13, 2023

The survey explored the longest time frame over which respondents believed they could predict their business’s performance. The findings highlighted the complexities of prediction.

While many expressed confidence in predicting performance within shorter time frames, uncertainty increased for longer periods. A significant portion felt confident predicting performance within intermediate time frames, such as 4-6 months. The ability to predict performance diminished for longer horizons, indicating the challenge of foreseeing distant outcomes.


In conclusion, the U.S. Census Bureau’s Business Trends and Outlook Survey offers nuanced insights into businesses’ current and anticipated performance. It underscores the importance of balancing optimism with a realistic assessment of challenges. The findings also emphasize the complexities of predicting performance over varying time horizons. Small businesses can leverage these insights to inform strategic decisions, adapt to evolving circumstances, and navigate their path forward with greater clarity.