47.6% of Businesses Reported Their Current Performance as Average in August 14 - 27, 2023

Biweekly Business Trends - United States - August 14 - 27, 2023

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• The U.S. Census Bureau’s Business Trends and Outlook Survey conducted in August 2023 revealed that nearly half of respondents considered their current business performance as “average,” with about 20% rating it as “above average” and 11% as “excellent.”

• Looking ahead, the majority of respondents expected their business performance to remain “average” in the next six months, while 22% anticipated “above-average” performance and 8% expected “excellent” performance.

• When it comes to forecasting, approximately 34% of respondents felt confident in predicting their business performance for the next “4-6 months,” while 22% extended their horizon to “7-12 months,” and 17% believed they could predict beyond “12 months,” highlighting varying degrees of forecasting capabilities among businesses.


In the ever-changing landscape of business, staying ahead of the curve requires a keen understanding of current trends and future projections. The U.S. Census Bureau’s Business Trends and Outlook Survey provides valuable insights into how businesses are performing, what the future might hold, and the timeline over which these predictions are made. In this article, we delve into the data from the survey to offer small businesses a comprehensive overview.

Current Performance: 47.6% of businesses reported their current performance as Average in August 14 - 27, 2023

The survey, conducted from August 14 to August 27, 2023, captured the sentiments of businesses across various sectors in the United States. Respondents were asked to evaluate their businesses’ current performance, and the results were illuminating:

A significant portion, roughly 48%, considered their business’s current performance to be “average.” Nearly 20% of respondents expressed confidence in their businesses, rating their current performance as “above average.” About 16% of respondents perceived their businesses’ current performance as “below average.” Approximately 11% of respondents had a positive outlook, describing their business performance as “excellent.” A smaller percentage, around 6%, expressed concerns, rating their business performance as “poor.”

Future Performance: 50.5% of businesses reported their future performance as Average in August 14 - 27, 2023

The survey also inquired about respondents’ expectations for their businesses’ performance six months down the line. Here’s what they had to say:

A majority, accounting for about 51% of respondents, expected their business performance to remain “average.” Over 22% of respondents anticipated that their businesses’ performance would be “above average” in six months. Roughly 14% of respondents predicted “below average” performance for their businesses in the future. A positive outlook persisted, with approximately 8% of respondents foreseeing “excellent” performance in six months. A smaller percentage, around 5%, expressed pessimism, expecting “poor” performance in the future.

Forecast Horizon: 33.7% of businesses reported their forecast horizon as 4-6 months in August 14 - 27, 2023

Understanding the timeline over which businesses can confidently predict their performance is crucial for planning and strategizing. The survey delved into this aspect as well:

The majority, constituting approximately 34% of respondents, felt confident in predicting their business performance over a “4-6 month” period. Around 22% of respondents had a longer-term perspective, stating they could predict their business performance over “7-12 months.” A substantial portion, roughly 19%, extended their predictive horizon to “2-3 months.” Approximately 17% of respondents believed they could make predictions about their business performance for “more than 12 months.” Nearly 9% of respondents believed they could predict their business’s performance accurately for “1 month or less.”


The U.S. Census Bureau’s Business Trends and Outlook Survey offers a valuable snapshot of how businesses perceive their current and future performance, as well as their forecasting capabilities. Small businesses can use these insights to benchmark their own performance against industry trends and tailor their strategies accordingly. In a rapidly changing business landscape, staying informed and adaptable is key to long-term success, and surveys like these provide a valuable tool in achieving that goal.