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Small Business Optimism Falls for Second Month


May 17– April marked the second month in a row of a decline in small business optimism, according to the latest monthly poll by the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB).

The April Index fell to 91.2, down 0.7 points from the previous month. In March the Index dropped 2.6 points. NFIB termed the back-to-back results, “still another sign of the nation's anemic economic recovery.”

The Index is based on ten indicators, including small business perceptions of the labor market, capital spending, sales and inventories, inflation, profits and wages, and credit markets.

Among April's highlights, NFIB identified:
  • The net percent of owners expecting better business conditions in six months slipped another 3 points to negative 8%, 18 percentage points worse than in January.
  • Higher earnings were reported in April, improving 6 points and registering a net negative 26%. While not a positive number, it is a greatly improved number for the small-business bottom line. Not seasonally adjusted, 15% reported profits higher (up 4 points), but 47% reported profits falling (down 2 points).
  • In April, a net 12% reported raising average selling prices, a 3 point gain from March and 23 points higher than last September. A net 24% planned hikes in average selling prices in April.
  • Only 50% of all firms reported making capital outlays last month, down 1 point from the month prior. The percent of owners planning capital outlays in the next three to six months fell 3 points to 21 percent, a recession level reading.
Read the full NFIB press release or download the complete report.