Arizona Comment on Today’s Drop in Small Business Optimism

Date: February 09, 2021

Home-made problems to an economic rebound need the Legislature’s immediate attention

Contact: Chad Heinrich,
or Tony Malandra, Senior Media Manager,

PHOENIX, Feb. 9, 2021—Not a whole lot to be optimistic about in today’s release of the monthly Small Business Optimism Index from NFIB, and home-grown challenges to an economic rebound are not helping matters, said the Arizona state director for the association that conducted the Index poll.

“The small business half of the economy will start to improve when business owners have confidence looking to the future,” said Chad Heinrich, Arizona state director for NFIB, the nation’s leading small-business advocacy association. “Today, Arizona business owners see big risks in reopening due to potential COVID-19 legal liability, they’ve also pressed pause on plans to expand their businesses due to voters recently roping small businesses into paying for the largest tax increase in state history. If that’s not enough, when business owners realize that the property tax rate they pay on business property is double the rate of what residential property pays, they will continue to think long and hard if it’s even worth investing in Arizona. Our Legislature is meeting now and small business is hoping for reasonable leaders at the State Capitol to remedy these maladies. We will see if our elected leaders will rise to the challenge.”

The Optimism Index declined in January to 95.0, down 0.9 from December and three points below the 47-year average of 98. Owners expecting better business conditions over the next six months declined seven points to a net negative 23%, the lowest level since November 2013. The net percent of owners expecting better business conditions has fallen 55 points over the past four months.

From NFIB chief economist Bill Dunkelberg

“As Congress debates another stimulus package, small employers welcome any additional relief that will provide a powerful fiscal boost as their expectations for the future are uncertain. The COVID-19 pandemic continues to dictate how small businesses operate and owners are worried about future business conditions and sales.”

About the Small Business Economic Trends (SBET)

The NFIB Research Center has collected Small Business Economic Trends data with quarterly surveys since the 4th quarter of 1973 and monthly surveys since 1986. Survey respondents are drawn from a random sample of NFIB’s membership. The report is released on the second Tuesday of each month. This survey was conducted in December 2020. For more information about NFIB, please visit

The SBET’s primary value is anticipating short-run fluctuations in economic activity. An additional value of the SBET is its measurement of small business activities and concerns over time. The benefit of a longitudinal data set offers an invaluable perspective on how policies and business cycles impact small businesses over time. The SBET is one of the few archival data sets on small business, particularly when research questions address business operations rather than opinions. Today, it’s the largest, longest-running data set on small business economic conditions available.

Keep up with the latest on Arizona small business news at or by following NFIB on Twitter @NFIB_AZ

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For more than 77 years, NFIB has been advocating on behalf of America’s small and independent business owners, both in Washington, D.C., and in all 50 state capitals. NFIB is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, and member-driven association. Since its founding in 1943, NFIB has been exclusively dedicated to small and independent businesses and remains so today. For more information, please visit

NFIB Arizona
24 W. Camelback Rd. #A252
Phoenix, AZ 85013
Twitter: @NFIB_AZ

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