Yet, the picture is not uniformly bad for all industries. Some are doing worse than others. And some are doing better. You could say the picture is mixed.
For instance, I received some data from Sageworks, a Raleigh, North Carolina company that provides private company financial data analysis. It shows just how mixed a picture this economy can be. In fact, when you break down the information into different industries, it starts to give you a different picture of how small businesses are faring in this economy.
According to the data, covering June 10, 2008 to June 10, 2009, three industries showed positive sales growth even in the midst of the recession. Those industries were Food, Technology and Storage/Warehousing.
At least one case — Storage/Warehouse space — is an example of opportunity arising out of the ashes of adversity. The reason that industry is doing well may be due to high foreclosures, leading to a greater need for storage space.
And what about the industries doing the worst? Try construction, real estate and motor vehicles. No surprise there. If you are in one of these industries you know all too well. Even if you’ve just been watching news reports, it’s hard to escape hearing about the challenges facing those industries.
Interestingly, you can even see some regionality. Homebuilders in the western part of the country are trending more negative than are those nationally, according to this data.
Is this a true statistically-valid sampling of each industry? That I cannot tell you.
The reason I find this data worth looking at is that it’s based on actual financial data. Sageworks gets the data directly from many thousands of CPAs and accounting firms. Some are “very large firms.” Those accounting firms in turn are reporting data for a considerable number of small privately-held businesses. (The company does not reveal how many businesses’ data is used.) Eighty percent (80%) of the data is from small businesses with $10 Million in annual revenues and under.