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Is Small Business Access to Credit About to Tighten? [CHART of the Week]

The most recent data from the National Federation of Independent Business [1] (NFIB) suggests that small business credit is about to become harder to get once again. Between March and April of 2011 the difference between the fraction of business owners saying that credit will become more available and the fraction saying that it will become less available turned more negative, after improving for nearly a year.

In March, the figure below shows, the share of small business owners who said credit conditions would get better over the next three months was nine percentage points lower than the share that said conditions would get worse. But in April, the gap had risen to 13 percentage points.

Although this measure tends to fluctuate from month to month, it had improved from poor levels seen during the Great Recession. Unfortunately, we are now closer to very negative levels expectations about future credit availability seen at the depths of the recession than we are to the more favorable ones experienced in the summer of 2007 before the recession began.

Credit tightening - small businesses [2]

Click for larger chart [2]