Small-business optimism rose for the third consecutive month, gaining 1.8 points in November, and settling at a still weak 92.0, according to the National Federation of Independent Business’ (NFIB’s) latest index. Optimism appears to have climbed because fewer owners expect business conditions or sales to be worse in six months, indicating some hope on the horizon. Improvement, although small, was widespread with the forward-looking components indicating positive trends for the first time in many months. “After so many months of pessimism, November’s modest gain made it feel like spring, again,” said NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg. “We have good reason to be optimistic about last month’s report and hopeful about what it means for the future. Still, our current reality is still very much the ongoing economic winter. November’s reading is still well below the average reading prior to 2008 levels from previous recoveries. More acutely, it is 2 points below January’s index, which means that there has been no progress over the calendar year. We should be encouraged, but cautiously so.” According the November’s survey, the percent of owners reporting “poor sales” as the top problem remained stubbornly high at 25 percent followed by 19 percent reporting both taxes and regulations. Inflation remained unchanged at six percent and interest rates fell 1 point to three percent as owners’ top problem. The report is based on the responses of 781 randomly sampled small businesses in NFIB’s membership, surveyed throughout the month of November.
(Image Credits: NFIB)