Small Business Optimism Climbed to 103.5 in April

Washington, DC, May 14, 2019-Optimism among small business owners continued its steady climb in April, with the NFIB Small Business Optimism Index increasing 1.7 points to 103.5. 

Sales improved in April, the inventory soft spot seen in last month’s report rebounded, and profit trends posted a very solid advance. Job creation plans gained, hiring remained strong, and expectations for sales, business conditions, and credit conditions all improved.

“America’s small and independent businesses are rebounding from the first quarter ‘shut down, slow down’ and don’t appear to be looking back. April’s Index is further evidence that when certainty and stability increase, so do optimism and action,” said NFIB president and CEO Juanita D. Duggan. “The continued economic boom is thanks, in a major way, to strong growth in the small business half of the economy.”

A net 9% of all owners (seasonally adjusted) reported higher nominal sales in the past three months, a four-point improvement, and the net percent of owners expecting higher real sales volumes rose one point to a net 20% of owners. The net percent of owners reporting inventory increases fell three points to a net 2% (seasonally adjusted). This is consistent with the significant build up in the first quarter that added nearly one point to GDP growth, and owners slowed additions to wait and see how much customers reduced the excess stock. The net percent of owners viewing current inventory stocks as “too low” improved two points to a net negative four percent as fewer owners viewed stocks as excessive. The net percent of owners planning to expand inventory holdings rose from a negative one percent to two percent, a three-point gain, indicating that strong sales gains resolved the excessive Q1 inventory build and owners are ready to place new orders and build inventory.