Category Archives: Small Business

April Small Business Optimism Survey – Notable Aspects

The April NFIB Small Business Optimism report was released today, April 9.  The headline of the Press Release is “Small-Business Owner Optimism Cannot Be Sustained.”  The subtitle is “After Three Months of Slow Growth, Owner Confidence is Heading the Wrong Direction Again.”

The Index of Small Business Optimism declined 1.3 points in March to 89.5.

Here are some excerpts from the Press Release that I find particularly notable (but don’t necessarily agree with) :

“After another false start, small-business confidence has sputtered and stalled again. For the sector that produces half the private GDP and employs half the private sector workforce—the fact that they are not growing, not hiring, not borrowing and not expanding like they should be, is evidence enough that uncertainty is slowing the economy,” said NFIB chief economist Bill Dunkelberg. “Virtually no owners think the current period is a good time to expand, because they simply don’t know what the future holds. So why invest? And with the lack of any sustainable fiscal policy or a federal budget, no one’s banking that Washington will be at forefront of any meaningful change. Overall, it appears that there will be little growth coming from the small business half of the economy; as the world economy slows, even big business may suffer.”

also:

In the March report, over three-quarters of business owners reported that they expect business conditions in six months to remain the same as they are now or worse. Aggregated, there are no plans to create new jobs in the coming months, although some parts of the U.S. will experience job growth and some sectors will create new jobs (housing
and energy in particular). A near record low percentage of small-business owners claim that credit is their top business problem (three percent); the greatest business problem for 23 percent of owners is taxes and regulations and red tape for 21 percent of owners.

also:

Good Time to Expand. Only four percent of owners surveyed characterized the current period as a good time to expand facilities (down 1 point), and historically a very weak number. The net percent of owners expecting better business conditions in six months was a net negative 28 percent, unchanged from February but 7 points better than December). These readings are among the lowest in the 40 year history of the NFIB survey.

Here is a chart of the NFIB Small Business Optimism chart, as seen in Doug Short’s April 9 post titled “Small Business Sentiment:  Contraction after Three Months of Slow Growth” :

(click on chart to enlarge image)

Dshort 4-9-13 NFIB-optimism-index

Further details regarding small business conditions can be seen in the Small Business Economic Trends as well as the April 2013 NFIB Small Business Economic Trends report (pdf).

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Please Note – The above is excerpted from the EconomicGreenfield.com (published by StratX, LLC) post of April 9, 2013, titled “NFIB Small Business Optimism –  April 2013

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StratX, LLC offers the above commentary for informational purposes only, and does not necessarily agree with the views expressed by these outside parties.

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StratX, LLC is a management consulting firm and strategic advisory that focuses on the analysis of current and future weak(ening) economic conditions, and offers businesses and other entities advice, strategies, and actionable methods on how to optimally adapt to such challenging, complex conditions.

February Small Business Optimism Survey – Notable Aspects

The February NFIB Small Business Optimism report was released yesterday, February 12.  The headline of the Press Release is “Small-Business Owner Confidence Barely Budges.”  The subtitle is “The New Year begins with low expectation for future growth.”

The Index of Small Business Optimism rose .9 points in January to 88.9.

Here are some excerpts from the Press Release that I find particularly notable:

Small-business owner confidence continues to drag, according to the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) Small Business Optimism Index. The Index gained 0.9 points, rising to 88.9, failing to regain the losses caused by last month’s “fiscal cliff” scare. Expectations for improved business conditions increased by five points, but remain overwhelmingly low—negative 30 percent—the fourth lowest reading in survey history. Actual job creation and job creation plans improved nominally, but still not enough to keep up with population growth.

“The Optimism Index barely budged in January. The only good news is that it ‘budged’ up, not down. If small businesses were publicly traded companies, the stock market would be in shambles. While corporate profits are at record levels as a share of GDP, small businesses are still struggling to turn a profit,” said NFIB chief economist Bill Dunkelberg. “With the dismal news that our economy actually contracted in the fourth quarter of 2012, it isn’t any wonder that more small firms expect their real sales volumes to fall, few have plans to invest in new inventory, and hardly any owners are expanding or hiring.

also:

Sales trends remain overwhelmingly negative for small employers, with still more owners reporting declining sales than experiencing positive sales trends.

Also, an excerpt regarding “Credit Markets” from a different document regarding the February small business economic trends:

Six percent of the owners reported that all their credit needs were not met, unchanged from December. Thirty-one (31) percent reported all credit needs met and 3% reported that financing was their top business problem. Thirty-one (31) percent of all owners reported borrowing on a regular basis, up 2 points from December and historically low. A net 7% reported loans “harder to get” compared to their last attempt (asked of regular borrowers only), 2 points lower than December. The average rate paid on short maturity loans was 5.5%, stuck at much the same level for years.

Here is a chart of the NFIB Small Business Optimism chart, as seen in Doug Short’s February 12 post titled “Small Business Sentiment:  Up Fractionally But Still One of the Lowest Readings in Survey History” :

(click on chart to enlarge image)

Dshort 2-12-13 NFIB-optimism-index

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Please Note – The above is excerpted from the EconomicGreenfield.com (published by StratX, LLC) post of February 13, 2013, titled “NFIB Small Business Optimism –  February 2013

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StratX, LLC offers the above commentary for informational purposes only, and does not necessarily agree with the views expressed by these outside parties.

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StratX, LLC is a management consulting firm and strategic advisory that focuses on the analysis of current and future weak(ening) economic conditions, and offers businesses and other entities advice, strategies, and actionable methods on how to optimally adapt to such challenging, complex conditions.

December Small Business Optimism Survey – Notable Aspects

The December NFIB Small Business Optimism report was released yesterday, December 11.  The headline of the Press Release is “Small Business Owner Confidence Plunges More than 5 Points.”  The subtitle is “One of the lowest optimism readings in survey history.”

The Index of Small Business Optimism fell by 5.6 point in November to 87.5.

Here are some excerpts from the Press Release that I find particularly notable:

The most significant factor impacting the decline in optimism is the expectation that future business conditions will be worse than current ones. The net percent of owners expecting better business conditions in six months fell 37 points to a net negative 35 percent. In October, the percent of owners who said they were uncertain as to whether business conditions would be better or worse in six months hit a record low of 23 percent. Many of those who were uncertain about the economy in October became decidedly negative in November; 49 percent of the owners now expect business conditions to be worse in six months, while 11 percent still express uncertainty about the future.

In the history of the monthly Index, only seven readings were lower, all but one in the last few months of 2008 and early 2009, the depths of the last recession. Prior to 1986 (when the survey was conducted on a quarterly basis), there were just two readings lower, 1975Q1 and 1980Q2.

also:

Twenty-three (23) percent of owners still cite weak sales as their top business problem; this is historically high but down from the record 34 percent reading last reached in March 2010.

Also, a chart of the NFIB Small Business Optimism chart, as seen in Doug Short’s December 11 post titled “Small Business Sentiment:  ’Confidence Plunges More than Five Points’.

(click on chart to enlarge image)

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Please Note – The above is excerpted from the EconomicGreenfield.com (published by StratX, LLC) post of December 12, 2012, titled “NFIB Small Business Optimism – December 2012

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StratX, LLC offers the above commentary for informational purposes only, and does not necessarily agree with the views expressed by these outside parties.

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StratX, LLC is a management consulting firm and strategic advisory that focuses on the analysis of current and future weak(ening) economic conditions, and offers businesses and other entities advice, strategies, and actionable methods on how to optimally adapt to such challenging, complex conditions.

Small Business Poll Results

On November 30, Gallup published a survey titled “U.S. Small-Business Owners Pessimistic Post Election.”

A couple of notable excerpts include:

U.S. small-business owners are pessimistic post-election, with the Wells Fargo/Gallup Small Business Index plunging to -11 in November from 17 in July. This is the most pessimistic that owners have been about their operating environment since July 2010, when the index stood at -28.

also:

  • Thirty percent of owners expect “poor” cash flow over the next 12 months — the highest Gallup has measured to date.
  • Twenty-eight percent of owners expect to be in a “poor” financial position 12 months from now — the highest Gallup has measured to date.

Also shown are three charts depicting the Wells Fargo/Gallup Small Business Index, the Future Expectations Dimension, and Present Situation Dimension since August 2003.

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StratX, LLC offers the above commentary for informational purposes only, and does not necessarily agree with the views expressed by these outside parties.

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StratX, LLC is a management consulting firm and strategic advisory that focuses on the analysis of current and future weak(ening) economic conditions, and offers businesses and other entities advice, strategies, and actionable methods on how to optimally adapt to such challenging, complex conditions.

NFIB September 2012 Small Business Optimism Survey – Notable Aspects

NFIB September 2012 Small Business Optimism Survey

The September NFIB Small Business Optimism report was released today, October 9.  The headline of the Press Release is “Hiring Plans Plunge:  Small Business Optimism Drops .1, Expectations for the Future Remain Low.”

The Index of Small Business Optimism fell by .1 point in September to 92.8.

Here are some excerpts from the Press Release that I find particularly notable:

Only eight percent complained that they didn’t get all the credit they wanted. Two percent say credit is their top business problem compared to 21 percent each citing taxes, regulations and red tape, and poor sales. Sales and profit trends were negative with little sign of improvement in the third quarter.

also:

Weak sales continue to be an albatross for the small-business community. The net percent of all owners (seasonally adjusted) reporting higher nominal sales over the past three months was unchanged at a negative 13 percent, cementing the 17 point decline since April and affirming weak GDP growth for the second quarter. Twenty-one (21) percent still cite weak sales as their top business problem—historically high, but down from the record 34 percent reached in March 2010.

Another page regarding September’s NFIB findings has a chart titled “Single Most Important Business Problem – Sept. 2012″ in which the top three concerns were Taxes, Gov. Reqs. & Red Tape, and Poor Sales, each with a 21 Percent reading.

Also on this page was a chart of the NFIB Small Business Optimism Index chart, as seen below:

(click on chart to enlarge image)

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Please Note – The above is abstracted from the EconomicGreenfield.com (published by StratX, LLC) post of October 9, 2012, titled “NFIB Small Business Optimism – September 2012

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StratX, LLC offers the above commentary for informational purposes only, and does not necessarily agree with the views expressed by these outside parties.

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StratX, LLC is a management consulting firm and strategic advisory that focuses on the analysis of current and future weak(ening) economic conditions, and offers businesses and other entities advice, strategies, and actionable methods on how to optimally adapt to such challenging, complex conditions.

July NFIB Small Business Optimism

The July NFIB Small Business Optimism report was released on August 14.  The headline of the Press Release is “Small-Business Optimism Continues to Decline in July.”

The Index of Small Business Optimism fell by .2 point in July, to 92.2.

Here are some excerpts from the report that I find particularly notable:

Dipping for a second consecutive month, after ending several months of slow growth, the Small Business Optimism Index gave up 0.2 points, falling to 91.2. The decline, while less anticipated given the Supreme Court decision on the health-care law and a flurry of activity surrounding the fiscal cliff, still leaves owner optimism disturbingly low and at recession levels.

also:

According to July’s report, more owners indicated that they expect business conditions will be worse (and not improved) in six months, and more owners expect real sales volumes to be lower than those who expect them to be higher in three months. This in part explains the lack of any need to hire more workers or to buy new inventory. Job creation plans are historically very low; only five percent of owners think the current period is a good time to expand.

also:

While “poor sales” has been eclipsed by other concerns as the top business problem, it still remains the No.1 issue for 20 percent of owners surveyed.

In conjunction with this July NFIB Small Business Optimism Survey, the CalculatedRisk blog on August 14 (in a post titled “NFIB:  Small Business Optimism declines in July“) had a chart that depicted the Index:

(click on charts to enlarge image)

NFIB Small Business Optimism chart

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Please Note – The above is an excerpt from the EconomicGreenfield.com (published by StratX, LLC) post of August 15, 2012 titled “NFIB Small Business Optimism – July 2012

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StratX, LLC offers the above commentary for informational purposes only, and does not necessarily agree with the views expressed by these outside parties.

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StratX, LLC is a management consulting firm and strategic advisory that focuses on the analysis of current and future weak(ening) economic conditions, and offers businesses and other entities advice, strategies, and actionable methods on how to optimally adapt to such challenging, complex conditions.