Small Business Optimism Index Declined to 89 in April

Washington, DC, May 9, 2023-NFIB’s Small Business Optimism Index decreased by 1.1 points in April to 89.0. This marks the 16th consecutive month below the survey’s 49-year history of 98. Labor quality was the top business problem at 24%, with inflation in second place by one point at 23%.

“Optimism is not improving on Main Street as more owners struggle with finding qualified workers for their open positions,” said NFIB chief economist Bill Dunkelberg. “Inflation remains a top concern for small businesses but is showing signs of easing.”

Key findings include:

* The frequency of reports of positive profit trends was a net negative 23%, five points worse than March.

* A net negative 5% of owners viewed current inventory stocks as “too low” in April, down six points from March. This suggests stocks are now too large relative to expected sales.

The net percent of owners raising average selling prices decreased four points to a net 33% (seasonally adjusted).

* The net percent of owners who expect real sales to be higher deteriorated four points from March to a net negative 19%.

As reported in NFIB’s monthly jobs report, owners’ plans to fill open positions remain elevated, with a seasonally adjusted net 17% planning to create new jobs in the next three months. Seasonally adjusted, a net 40% reported raising compensation. A net 21% plan to raise compensation in the next three months. Nine percent cited labor costs as their top business problem and 24% said that labor quality was their top business problem.