A majority of small-business owners think a recession is coming: Survey

Main Street has caught up to Wall Street, at least when it comes to increased fears of a recession.

A narrow majority of small-business owners across the United States expect a recession in the next year, according to the latest . This was the first time in the two-year-plus history of the survey that small-business owners were asked for their recession forecast, but the broader survey trends over time indicate more caution on the part of entrepreneurs as multiple readings of small-business sentiment have declined.

The record level for the CNBC/SurveyMonkey Small Business Confidence Index was reached in the third quarter of 2018 and has declined since then. Expectations for revenue and hiring, as well as over business conditions, also have

The survey — which was conducted by among more than 2,200 small-business owners across the country between Jan. 28 and Feb. 4 — does not indicate a major retreat on Main Street when the results are viewed on a longer-term basis. The current levels for these indicators remain much higher than they were a few years ago. The confidence decline from the third-quarter 2018 peak level occurred over the same period of time when the U.S. stock market, which soared into the third quarter of last year, suffered a dramatic decline with many sectors of the economy ending 2018 in a correction (decline of 10 percent) or bear market (decline of 20 percent).

“While a slim majority of small-business owners see a recession ahead, there‘s little sign that they think it‘s imminent,” said Jon Cohen, chief research officer at SurveyMonkey. “The small-business index has tapered off from its peak in Q3 2018, but it certainly hasn‘t hit a wall, and several of its core components remain strong,” Cohen said.