NFIB Small Business Optimism Index Posts 8.1 Point Decline in March
Washington, DC, April 7, 2020-The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index fell 8.1 points in March to 96.4, the largest monthly decline in the survey’s history.
Nine of the ten Index components declined, which is evidence that economic disruptions are escalating on Main Street as small businesses struggle to keep their doors open. The small business sector is anticipating and bracing for continued economic disruptions going forward.
“Small businesses are living through the coronavirus pandemic right now and it’s hard to say what the severity of the disruption will be, but we do know they’re feeling the urgency,” said NFIB chief economist William Dunkelberg. “It is vital that these businesses have access to federal funds that are made available through the CARES ACT to keep the doors open on Main Street.”
The NFIB survey collected the majority of responses in the first half of the month, so the sharp decline in employment is not reflected in the March survey data.
The main takeaways from the March survey include:
- The NFIB Uncertainty Index rose 12 points in March to 92, the highest level since March 2017.
- Reports of better business conditions in the next six months declined 17 points to a net 5%, which is the largest monthly decline since November 2012.
- Real sales expectations in the next six months declined 31 points to a net negative 12%, the largest monthly decline in the survey’s history.
- Thirteen percent of firms thought it was a good time to expand, a decline of 13 points from last month.
- Job openings fell three points to 35%.