No, it isn't just your imagination. The economic situation in our Democratic Republic has gone from bad to worse, as the chasm between the "haves" and "have-nots" continues to widen.
Small businesses - which have been hit particularly hard by the Great Recession - are standing on the edge of a frightening abyss.
To be sure, larger retailers continue to gain significant market share at the expense of their smaller counterparts. Worse, the market share loss suffered by smaller retailers corresponds to an absolute (national) sales decline of about 6%.
Yes, as ComScore's Gian Fulgoni points out, the small business sector is definitely not on a positive trajectory.
"The picture continues to be bleak on the hiring front, as well," he wrote in an official blog post.
"Over the next three months, eight percent of small businesses plan to reduce employment (up one point), [while] 10 percent plan to create new jobs (down four points), yielding a seasonally adjusted net one percent of owners planning to create new jobs, unchanged from the May reading and positive for only the second time in 20 months."
According to Fulgoni, the problems facing small businesses are clearly hampering the country's economic recovery.
"It's almost a catch-22 situation. Without strengthened consumer demand, small businesses can't justify hiring. But with unemployment high, consumer demand will remain sluggish."
However, Fulgoni emphasized that there were still opportunities for growth - despite the extremely "difficult environment" for smaller retailers.
"It will require using their ability to be more nimble and flexible in responding to consumer demands and social media offers a great way to do that. [Nevertheless], it is critical that the [Obama] administration begin to figure out ways to promote job growth among small businesses.
"[For example], policies that encourage hiring need to be pursued and anything that raises costs avoided. The small business 'engine of hiring' urgently needs to be primed."