Small Business Optimism Index Rose to 95.8 in February

Washington, DC, March 9, 2021-The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index rose to 95.8 in February, a slight bump from January's 95.0 but still below the 47-year average reading of 98. The NFIB Uncertainty Index decreased five points to 75.

“Small business owners worked hard in February to overcome unexpected weather conditions along with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic,” said NFIB chief economist Bill Dunkelberg. “Capital spending has been strong, but not on Main Street. The economic recovery remains uneven for small businesses, especially those still managing state and local regulations and restrictions. Congress and the Biden administration must keep small businesses a priority as they plan future policy legislation.”

Five of the ten Index components improved, four declined, and one was unchanged.

Forty percent of owners reported job openings that could not be filled, an increase of seven points from January.

Owners expecting better business conditions over the next six months increased four points to a net negative 19%, a poor reading.

Earnings trends over the past three months improved five points to a net negative 11% reporting higher earnings compared to the January reading.

As reported in NFIB’s monthly jobs report, 56% of owners reported hiring or trying to hire in February, up five points from January. Owners have plans to fill open positions with a seasonally adjusted net 18% planning to create new jobs in the next three months, up one point from January.