Small Business Optimism Continues Two Month Decline

The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index fell 5.5 points in April to 90.9, continuing the decline in optimism that started in March. The index has fallen 13.6 points over the last two months.

Job creation plans fell for the second straight month, as government stay-at home orders were implemented. A seasonally-adjusted net 1.0% of owners plan to create new jobs, down 8 points. Eighteen percent of owners, not seasonally adjusted, plan to increase total employment at their firm (down 5 points) and 9.0% plan reductions (up 3 points).

The percent of owners thinking it’s a good time to expand declined 10 points falling to 3.0%, its lowest level since 2010.  Forty-seven percent of respondents reported hiring or trying to hire, but 41.0% (87.0% of those hiring or trying to hire) reported few or no “qualified” applicants for their positions. Twenty-four percent of all owners reported job openings they could not fill in the current period, down 11 points since March.

A net negative 11.0% of all owners reported higher nominal sales in the past three months, down 19 points from March. The decline in retail sales was a record amount. In the past two months, the percent of owners expecting higher sales volumes has declined 61 points.

Five percent of owners reported that their borrowing needs were not fully satisfied, up 2 points. 29.0% reported all credit needs met (unchanged) and 56.0% said they were not interested in a loan (up 1 point). A net 4.0% reported their last loan was harder to get than in previous attempts (unchanged).


Read the NFIB report.