NFIB Small Business Survey: Unchanged in April
The latest issue of the NFIB Small Business Economic Trends came out this morning. The headline number for April came in at 93.2, unchanged from the previous month. The index is at the 16th percentile in this series.
Here is an excerpt from the opening summary of the news release.
“Small business owners are struggling to deal with inflation pressures,” said NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg. “The labor supply is not responding strongly to small businesses’ high wage offers and the impact of inflation has significantly disrupted business operations.”
The first chart below highlights the 1986 baseline level of 100 and includes some labels to help us visualize that dramatic change in small-business sentiment that accompanied the Great Financial Crisis and now the COVID-19 pandemic. Compare, for example, the relative resilience of the index during the 2000-2003 collapse of the Tech Bubble with the far weaker readings following the Great Recession that ended in June 2009 and today's figures.
Here is a closer look at the indicator since the turn of the century.
The average monthly change in this indicator is 1.4 points. To smooth out the noise of volatility, here is a 3-month moving average of the Optimism Index along with the monthly values, shown as dots.