Small Business Optimism Relatively Flat in November at 90.6

Washington, DC, December 12, 2023--NFIB’s Small Business Optimism Index decreased 0.1 point in November to 90.6, which marks the 23rd consecutive month below the 50-year average of 98. 

Twenty-two percent of owners reported that inflation was their single most important problem in operating their business, unchanged from October but ten points lower than this time last year.

“Job openings on Main Street remain elevated as the economy saw a strong third quarter,” said NFIB chief economist Bill Dunkelberg. “However, even with the growing economy, small business owners have not seen a strong wave of workers to fill their open positions. Inflation also continues to be an issue among small businesses.”

Key findings include:

* Owners expecting better business conditions over the next six months increased one point from October to a net negative 42% seasonally adjusted.

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

* Forty percent (seasonally adjusted) of owners reported job openings that were hard to fill, down three points.

* Seasonally adjusted, a net 30% of owners plan to raise compensation in the next three months, up six points from October and the highest since December 2021.

* The net percent of owners raising average selling prices decreased five points from October to a net 25% (seasonally adjusted).

* The net percent of owners who expect real sales to be higher increased two points from October to a net negative 8% (seasonally adjusted).