Small Business Optimism Index Rose to 91.9 in December

Washington, DC, January 9, 2024-The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index increased 1.3 points in December to 91.9, marking the 24th consecutive month below the 50-year average of 98. Twenty-three percent of small business owners reported that inflation was their single most important problem in operating their business, up one point from last month, and replacing labor quality as the top concern.

“Small business owners remain very pessimistic about economic prospects this year,” said NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg. “Inflation and labor quality have consistently been a tough complication for small business owners, and they are not convinced that it will get better in 2024.”

Key findings include:

* Small business owners expecting better business conditions over the next six months increased six points from November to a net negative 36% (seasonally adjusted), and 25 percentage points better than last June’s reading of a net negative 61%.

* Seasonally adjusted, a net 29% of owners plan to raise compensation in the next three months, down one point from November.

* The net percent of owners raising average selling prices was unchanged from November at a net 25% (seasonally adjusted).

* The net percent of owners who expect real sales to be higher increased four points from November to a net negative 4% (seasonally adjusted), the highest reading since January 2022.