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Small business optimism stagnant, uncertainty remains

A new NFIB report reveals small business optimism is stagnant and while employers plan to hire more staff, they remain confused and uncertain about the future of the economy, healthcare, and regulations.

small business optimism

small business optimism

Small business optimism index released

According to the Small Business Economic Trends survey from the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), small business optimism overall was stagnant in August, falling 0.1 points from July to 94.0, but uncertainty about the future remains. While small business owners plan to increase employment, they don’t expect the economy or earnings to improve, pointing to the numerous contrasting data points in the NFIB trends survey.

“The August reading provided us with a rather perplexing set of statistics; internally consistent on some dimensions, such as lower sales bringing lower profits, but contradictory in other ways, such as lower job openings but huge gains in hiring plans,” said NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg.

Forging ahead regardless

Meanwhile, 16.0 percent of small business owners stated they have plans to increase employment, and 25 percent intend to make capital outlays, but only 7.0 percent report now being a good time to expand. Meanwhile, 10.0 percent say they don’t expect the economy to improve, and a shocking 35 percent do not expect the economy to recover.

These numbers prove that while businesses aren’t feeling hopeful about earnings or an economic recovery, they plan to forge ahead regardless.

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Uncertainty in the future of business

The NFIB states that a lack of clear leadership from government and the current regulatory climate are the primary reasons for confusion and uncertainty among small businesses.

Dunkelberg added, “We know that the upcoming implementation deadlines for the healthcare law are weighing on the minds of employers, and the current dim prospects for real tax reform must be, as well. The September survey will hopefully straighten things but with Syria on the horizon, the budget situation still up in the air, and Obamacare being rolled out, clarity over our economic direction is not likely to be the outcome.”

Written By

Marti Trewe reports on business and technology news, chasing his passion for helping entrepreneurs and small businesses to stay well informed in the fast paced 140-character world. Marti rarely sleeps and thrives on reader news tips, especially about startups and big moves in leadership.

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