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Lawn & Landscape Staff | September 11, 2012

Join the club

If you are ever on the job annoyed thinking about all those business owners on summer vacation, then this should make you smile. According to a Manta survey of more than 1,200 small business owners, nearly half of those polled say they won’t have time to take a vacation this summer and almost 60 percent say they’re working more this year than they did last year. According to recent research from CEB, one-third of self-employed persons (i.e., small business owners) work more than 50 hours per week.

And even those who can get away will be glued to their phone checking email and keeping tabs on the office. Seven in 10 small business owners will be checking email/work documents from their mobile device while on vacation; however, 60 percent say they can enjoy their vacation more because of their mobile device and business applications.


Your customers are spending…

… in retail locations. And that’s a good thing, right? Retail sales edged higher in the month of July – breaking three consecutive months of declining growth – demonstrating that consumers are gaining some semblance of confidence this summer.

According to the National Retail Federation, July retail sales (excluding automobile, gas stations and restaurants) increased  0.8 percent seasonally adjusted from June and 1.2 percent unadjusted year-over-year. July retail sales, released today by the U.S. Department of Commerce, showed total retail and food services sales (which include non-general merchandise categories such as automobiles, gasoline stations, and restaurants) increased 0.8 percent seasonally adjusted month-to-month and 4.1 percent adjusted year-over-year.  If it were unadjusted it would be 3.4 percent.


July

There are positive signs that small business lending is gaining momentum among large and mid-sized banks. The Biz2Credit Small Business Lending Index, a monthly analysis of 1,000 loan applications on Biz2credit.com, revealed that approvals in July 2012 by big banks (more than $10 billion in assets) improved for the second consecutive month to 11.3 percent from 11.1 percent in June 2012.

This figure is the highest approval rate by big banks since March. But small bank lending dropped slightly to 47.4 percent in July 2012 from 47.5 percent in June 2012. This figure however is still up two and a half percentage points from 44.9 percent last July.

Credit unions’ July 2012 loan approval rate dipped to 54.6 percent, down from 55.8 percent in June. The figure represents the lowest approval rate for credit unions since August 2011, when the figure stood at 54.2 percent. Some credit unions have reported that they had reached their lending limit, which currently is 12.25 percent of total assets.


$628 billion

The Equipment Leasing and Finance Association’s (ELFA) Monthly Leasing and Finance Index (MLFI-25), which reports economic activity for the $628 billion equipment finance sector, showed overall new business volume for June was $8 billion, up 9.5 percent from volume of $7.3 billion in the same period in 2011.

Volume was up 29 percent from the previous month. Year-to-date cumulative new business volume increased 14.5 percent.

Credit approvals increased to 78.7 percent in June from 78.3 percent in May. Sixty-five percent of participating organizations reported submitting more transactions for approval during June, down from 75 percent in May.

Total headcount for equipment finance companies increased slightly from the previous month, but declined 2.6 percent year over year. Supplemental data show that trucking and construction led the underperforming sectors, followed by small and medium-sized enterprises.

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