Small Business Optimism Rose to 89.7 in April

Washington, DC, May 14, 2024-NFIB’s Small Business Optimism Index rose by 1.2 points in April to 89.7, marking the first increase of this year but the 28th consecutive month below the 50-year average of 98. 

Twenty-two percent of owners reported that inflation was their single most important problem in their business, down three points from March but still the number one problem for small business owners.

“Cost pressures remain the top issue for small business owners, including historically high levels of owners raising compensation to keep and attract employees,” said Bill Dunkelberg, NFIB chief economist. “Overall, small business owners remain historically very pessimistic as they continue to navigate these challenges. Owners are dealing with a rising level of uncertainty but will continue to do what they do best – serve their customers.”

Key findings include:

* The net percent of owners who expect real sales to be higher rose six points from March to a net negative 12% (seasonally adjusted).

* A seasonally adjusted net 12% of owners reported planning to create new jobs in the next three months, up one point from March’s lowest level since May 2020.

* A net 26% (seasonally adjusted) of owners plan price hikes in April, down seven points and the lowest reading since April of last year.

* Forty percent (seasonally adjusted) of all owners reported job openings they could not fill in the current period, up three points from March, which was the lowest reading since January 2021.

* The net percent of owners raising average selling prices fell three points from March to a net 25% seasonally adjusted.