Hiring, Taxes, Uncertain Economy Remain Key Issues For Small Businesses, However
The NFIB’s latest Small Business Economic Trends report found that in April, small business owners continued to express lower optimism about the economy. While the Index of Small Business Optimism rose 1 point to 93.6, this was still much lower than the 42-year historic average of 98 points. Of the 10 index components, five posted gains, particularly the number of small business owners reporting that they had trouble filling job vacancies. This is indicative of a tightening labor market, the report found. NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg said, “Overall, there is no exuberance to be found in the economy and small business owners will just continue to plod along.” Dunkelberg also pointed to uncertainty over the current political climate as an issue affecting the optimism of small business owners. Results of the April survey showed that the political climate was once again “the second most frequently cited reason for why owners think the current period is a bad time to expand.” For April, the component of the optimism index measuring the number of “small business owners who expect business conditions to improve in the next six months was the only component to decline and now sits at a -18 percent.” Dunkelberg explained, “There is no leadership in Washington, no articulation of a path to a better future, no evidence that policy-making is coordinated or focused on promoting growth or job creation.” He cautioned, “The prospects that strong, unifying leadership will emerge after the election appear to be poor.” 24/7 Wall Street reports comments from TD Bank’s head of Commercial Banking, Fred Graziano, on the latest NFIB data. Graziano said, “Given last month’s low, today’s Small Business Optimism data was not unexpected and reflects the ongoing uncertainty small business owners currently face, especially in the midst of an election year.” However, he suggested, “Current economic conditions also have led to concerns among small business owners over the future of business growth, but ultimately, optimism and growth should improve in the coming months.”
What This Means For Small Businesses
The latest NFIB optimism index data suggests that small business owners are continuing to feel the effects of legislative inaction coupled with an uncertain election cycle and tepid economic conditions.
Note: this article is intended to keep small business owners up on the latest news. It does not necessarily represent the policy stances of NFIB.