New York (CNN Business)A rising number of US businesses saw falling sales and lower profit margins at the end of 2018, another sign that the American economy could be slowing.
Only 47% of firms surveyed by the National Association for Business Economics reported rising sales in the last quarter of the year, down from 61% the previous quarter, while the number of businesses reporting falling sales nearly tripled, from 6% to 17%.
The holiday season didn’t seem to bring any relief. 20% of businesses said they saw profits fall over the survey period, up from 8% in October. Most businesses aren’t optimistic about a turnaround early this year, either, with just 14% expecting bigger earnings during the first quarter.