Small Business Optimism Declined to 90.7 in October

Washington, DC, November 14, 2023-The small business Optimism Index decreased 0.1 points in October to 90.7, marking the 22nd month below the 50-year average, reports NFIB. The last time the Optimism Index was at or above the average was December 2021.

“This month marks the 50th anniversary of NFIB’s small business economic survey,” said NFIB chief economist Bill Dunkelberg. “The October data shows that small businesses are still recovering, and owners are not optimistic about better business conditions. Small business owners are not growing their inventories as labor and energy costs are not falling, making it a gloomy outlook for the remainder of the year.”

Key findings include:

* Twenty-two percent of owners reported that inflation was their single most important problem in operating their business, down one point from last month.

* Owners expecting better business conditions over the next six months was unchanged from September at a net negative 43% (seasonally adjusted).

* A net negative 17% of all owners (seasonally adjusted) reported higher nominal sales in the past three months, down nine points from September and the lowest reading since July 2020.

8 Forty-three percent (seasonally adjusted) of owners reported job openings that were hard to fill, unchanged from September and remains historically very high.

* Seasonally adjusted, a net 24% plan to raise compensation in the next three months, up one point from September.

* The frequency of reports of positive profit trends was a net negative 32%, down eight points from September.

* The net percent of owners who expect real sales to be higher increased three points from September to a net negative 10%.