Comment on Today’s National Economic Report

Date: November 10, 2020

Idaho appears to be bucking a national trend—in a good way

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Suzanne Budge, Idaho State Director, suzanne.budge@nfib.org
or Tony Malandra, Senior Media Manager, anthony.malandra@nfib.org

BOISE, Idaho, Nov. 10, 2020—The release of today’s monthly Small Business Economic Trends report (aka the Optimism Index) by NFIB raises an important question worth the Idaho Legislature’s consideration when it sits down for business in January, according to the association’s state director: Why does Idaho seem to be bucking a national pessimistic trend?

“Our latest Optimism Index show a drop in the percentage of small-business owners who expect the economy to improve,” said Suzanne Budge, Idaho state director for NFIB. “Couple that with last Thursday’s release of our Jobs Report showing historically high levels of job openings and our nation’s economy still has a lot of cloud cover until you look more closely at the few states like Idaho where there are some rays of sunshine poking through.”

The rays of sunshine referred to by Budge were the very recently released Idaho Economic Forecast report and the Idaho General Fund Revenue Report, both from the state’s Division of Financial Management. One clause more than any other in the 79-page forecast was the most salient for Budge, “… the outlook for employment in the state shows growth ahead.” (Page 16). From the revenue report came the reassurance that “Updated data show Idaho’s labor market was notably resilient midyear even as the pandemic reached into the state. New data for leisure and hospitality along with trade employment show these sectors rebounding more quickly than was forecast. These help to explain why General Fund revenue during the fiscal year’s first quarter exceeded the projection by $102.6 million (10.2%).”

“I don’t believe Idaho’s better standing is by accident,” said Budge. “I believe it’s from having better policies, such as using CARES money to shore up the state’s unemployment insurance trust fund, providing our small-business owners with some liability protection against unfair and unfounded COVID lawsuits, and keeping the minimum wage issue totally within the confines of the Legislature. I’d like our next Legislature to seriously consider what we’ve done right, what more needs to be done, and – most important of all – what to leave alone.”

About the Small Business Economic Trends

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 October 2020. For more information about NFIB, please visit NFIB.com.

From NFIB chief economist Bill Dunkelberg

On today’s SBET, “Leading up to the presidential election, small businesses continued to focus on stabilizing their businesses but were uncertain about the future economic conditions due to COVID-19 government regulations on all levels. We see solid momentum going into the 4th quarter, and another good quarter could get the GDP back to its 2019 closing levels.”

On last Thursday’s Jobs Report, “The small business labor market is still recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic and the state and local regulations that further hindered small business operations. The large increase in the number of unemployed has done little to help small businesses improve the quality of their applicants. Firms have more openings for skilled workers and are having trouble matching available workers with available jobs.”

Keep up with the latest on Idaho small business at www.nfib.com/idaho or by following NFIB on Twitter @NFIB_ID

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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.com.

National Federation of Independent Business/Idaho
802 W. Bannock, Ste. 301
Boise, ID 83702
208-345-6632
www.nfib.com/idaho
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