Business professionals surveyed by the National Association of Business Economists fear worsening economic conditions and slow job growth will shake up optimistic growth levels set earlier in the year.

With job and employment prospects shaping the fate of the real estate market, the latest NABE report is bad news for most of the economy.

The July 2012 NABE Industry Survey collected the thoughts of 67 business leaders. The majority of those interviewed see a slow down in hiring and fear the European financial crisis is already trickling into America, slowing down the national economy.

Two-thirds say employment levels remain unchanged, while only one-fifth of those surveyed see employment figures growing. To date, only 23% of NABE interview subjects expect employment levels to rise in the next six months, which is down from 39% in the April survey.

"The survey results suggest worsening economic conditions through increased flatness in sales and profit margins, less upward pressure on employment, weakening optimism concerning real GDP growth, and rising concerns about the impact of the European crisis, potential U.S. government spending cuts in January, and the expiration of Bush-era tax cuts in December, although there are fewer inflationary pressures," said Nayantara Hensel, professor of industry and business at National Defense University.

Only 39% of those surveyed saw rising sales at their firms, down from 60% in April. Meanwhile, those reporting rising profit margins fell from 40% in April to 29% in the July survey. 

About three-quarters said prices charged by their firms have not changed, while only 9% reported price increases.

Panelists surveyed for the study cite the end of the Bush-era tax cuts as a potential threat to the economy's overall stability in late December and early January. Sixty-five percent claim sales will fall if taxes go up, while 30% of those interviewed believe sales will stay the same.

kpanchuk@housingwire.com