Small Business Optimism Declined in October
Washington, DC, November 9, 2021-The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index decreased slightly in October by 0.9 points to 98.2. One of the ten Index components improved, seven declined, and two were unchanged.
“Small business owners are attempting to take advantage of current economic growth but remain pessimistic about business conditions in the near future,” said NFIB chief economist Bill Dunkelberg. “One of the biggest problems for small businesses is the lack of workers for unfilled positions and inventory shortages, which will continue to be a problem during the holiday season.”
Key findings include:
* The NFIB Uncertainty Index decreased seven points to 67.
* Small business owners expecting better business conditions over the next six months fell four points to a net negative 37%. This indicator has declined 17 points over the past three months to its lowest level since November 2012.
As reported in NFIB’s monthly jobs report, 49% of owners reported job openings that could not be filled, a decrease of two points from September. A net 44% of owners (seasonally adjusted) reported raising compensation, a 48-year record high reading. A net 32% plan to raise compensation in the next three months.
Fifty-six percent of owners reported capital outlays in the last six months, up three points from September. Of those making expenditures, 40% reported spending on new equipment, 24% acquired vehicles, and 14% improved or expanded facilities. Seven percent acquired new buildings or land for expansion and 12% spent money for new fixtures and furniture. Thirty-one percent of owners plan capital outlays in the next few months, up three points and two points above the 48-year average.
A net negative 4% of all owners reported higher nominal sales in the past three months, down seven points from September. The net percent of owners expecting higher real sales volumes decreased by two points to a net 0%.