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What the heck is up with private company sales?

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What the heck is up with private company sales?

A new report from Sageworks indicates that sales growth has slowed considerably for private companies.

The more information we get about the economy, the blurrier the future looks.

Middle market, private company professional heavyweights like PwC, Deliotte, Keybank, and KPMG have all issued reports indicating that their research shows increasing sales year-on-year for private and middle market companies, with even higher expectations for the coming year.

2013 sales for private companies are languishing relative to the last couple of years.

And yet, Sageworks, a provider of financial information on private companies, reports that 2013 sales for private companies are languishing relative to the last couple of years.

Preliminary estimates show that privately held companies are growing sales at an annual rate of less than 4 percent in 2013, according to financial statements. This estimated rate of growth is significantly lower than it has been in previous years. Private companies saw nearly double-digit sales growth in 2012 and 2011. According to Sageworks chairman Brian Hamilton, this slowdown is troubling, considering the reverberations it might have on the U.S. employment situation. With business owners facing uncertainty surrounding policy issues and other external factors, Hamilton explains, “This slowdown does not bode well for the already inconsistent hiring and investment plans for these companies.

True, Sageworks covers all private companies, not just middle market companies.  However, Sageworks' reporting just adds to the seemingly omnipresent uncertainty and confusion as to the direction of the US economy.

Let's hope the other reports are right.

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