Small Business Optimism Holds Steady at 104 in October

Washington, DC, November 10, 2020-The NFIB Optimism Index remained at 104.0 in October, unchanged from September and a historically high reading. 

Four of the ten components improved, five declined, and one was unchanged. Although all of the data was collected prior to Election Day, a six-point increase in the NFIB Uncertainty Index to 98 was likely driven by the election and uncertain conditions in future months due to the COVID-19 pandemic and possible government mandated shutdowns. The uncertainty reading was the highest reading since November 2016.

Other key findings include:

  • Earnings trends over the past three months improved nine points to a net negative 3% reporting higher earnings.
  • Earnings trends have improved to pre-crisis levels, up 32 points since June.
  • Inventory investment plans for the next three to six months increased one point to a net 12%, a record high.
  • Real sales expectations in the next three months increased three points to a net 11% expecting gains.
  • Owners expecting better business conditions over the next six months declined five points to a net 27%.