Green Shoots Sprout in Long Awaited Economic Recovery
Is this the economic recovery we've all been waiting for?
Economic conditions are improving at a steady pace, as small, privately owned businesses report swifter sales and plumper profits, according to the Sageworks April quarterly report on private companies, released Monday.
Sageworks, which analyzes more than 1,000 private company financial statements each day, examined sales and cash flow data for the prior 12 months.
Sales for all companies continued to grow, increasing 8 percent for April 2014, but at a slightly slower rate than in 2013, when sales grew 9.4 percent, and down a full two percentage points from April, 2012.
Net profit margins also continued to tick up, notching 7.8 percent, up nearly 2 percentage points from 2013 and an increase of more than 3 percentage points compared to 2012.
Construction led the way, realizing a nearly 13 percent increase in sales, down about half a percentage point compared to a year ago. Net profits increased 0.6 percentage points to 6.8 percent. Manufacturing, wholesale, and retail also notched sales gains, but at slower rate than the previous two years.
Manufacturing grew 6.8 percent in April, compared to 10.6 percent in 2013. Wholesale companies increased 6.4 percent compared to 8.6 percent in 2013, and retail increased 6.3 percent, compared to 6.9 percent for the same period a year ago.
“Private companies in the United States are continuing to grow at a healthy rate and maintain their net profit margins," Brian Hamilton, chairman of Sageworks, said in a statement.
Not All Rosy
In one potentially worrying trend, accounts payable days--a measure of how long it takes companies to get paid by their customers--are creeping up. For April, the number of days jumped to 46.7, an increase of more than ten days from 2013.
Private companies create sixty-five percent of the jobs in the U.S., Sageworks says, and they are responsible for more than 50 percent of the gross domestic product.