Small Business Optimism Rises in February Prior to Coronavirus Escalation

The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index increased to 104.5, a reading in the top 10% of all readings in the history of the survey. February’s survey responses were collected prior to the escalation of coronavirus outbreak and Fed Rate cut.

Strong job creation continued in February, with an average addition of 0.43 workers per firm, adding to a strong 1st quarter of 2020. Finding qualified workers remains the top issue with 25 percent reporting this as their number one problem.

A seasonally-adjusted net 21 percent plan to create new jobs, up 2 points. Not seasonally adjusted, 28 percent plan to increase total employment at their firm (up 4 points), and 1 percent plan reductions (down 2 points).

Two percent of owners reported that all their borrowing needs were not satisfied, down 1 point, matching the record low. Thirty-two percent reported all credit needs met (up 2 points) and 55 percent said they were not interested in a loan (up 1 point). A net 1 percent reported their last loan was harder to get than in previous attempts, down 3 points.

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About Author

Hugo Dante

Hugo Dante is a research associate in the Economic Policy and Research group at the ABA.