Small Business Optimism Index Slid 0.2 Points to 99.6 in May

Washington, DC, June 8, 2021-The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index fell 0.2 points in May to 99.6. May saw a slight pause in the recovery of small business optimism after steadily increasing each month in 2021. As reported in NFIB’s monthly jobs report, a record-high 48% of owners reported unfilled job openings.

“The labor shortage is holding back growth for small businesses across the country,” said NFIB chief economist Bill Dunkelberg. “If small business owners could hire more workers to take care of customers, sales would be higher and getting closer to pre-COVID levels. In addition, inflation on Main Street is rampant and small business owners are uncertain about future business conditions.”

Other key findings include:

* Five of the ten Index components improved, three declined, and two were unchanged.

* The NFIB Uncertainty Index decreased one point to 79.

* Job creation plans over the next three months rose to a net 27%, up six points.

* Owners expecting better business conditions over the next six months fell 11 points to a net negative 26%.

* Earnings trends over the past three months declined four points to a net negative 11%.