Small Business Optimism Improves Slightly in February

The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index rose 0.8 points to 95.8 in February, but still remains below the 47-year average 98. Many respondents continue to report uncertainty as businesses dealt with tough weather conditions throughout the month, along with ongoing COVID-19 restrictions. The overall outlook for the economy is down.

A seasonally adjusted net 18.0% of owners plan to create new jobs, up 1 point from the previous month. The percent of owners thinking it’s a good time to expand was fell 2 points to 6.0%. Forty percent of respondents reported job openings they could not fill in the current period, up 7 points from January’s number.

A net 2.0% of all owners reported higher nominal sales in the past three months, up 9 points from January. The net percent of owners expecting higher real sales volumes decreased 2 points to a net -8.0%.

Two percent of owners reported in that their borrowing needs were not fully satisfied. Twenty-eight percent reported all credit needs met (up 4 points) and 58.0% said they were not interested in a loan (down 3 points). A net 1.0% reported their last loan was harder to get than in previous attempts (unchanged).

Read the NFIB report.