Helena Lyng Blak
6 weeks ago

US Small Business Optimism Tumbles to Lowest Level in 12 years

Pessimistic outlooks for small businesses continue across America.
Rick Menapace / Shutterstock.com
Rick Menapace / Shutterstock.com

The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) Small Business Optimism Index declined by 0.9 point in March to 88.5. That is the lowest level the index has reached since December 2012.

The decrease is the seventh in eight months. It is furthermore the 27th consecutive month below the 50-year average of 98.

“Inflation has once again been reported as the top business problem on Main Street and the labor market has only eased slightly,” said NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg. 25% of business owners reported inflation being the single most important problem in operating their business.

The percentage of owners anticipating an increase in real sales dropped by eight points from February, resulting in a seasonally adjusted net negative of 18%.

In March, 37% of business owners reported unfillable job openings, a figure unchanged from February and the lowest since January 2021, with notable difficulties in the transportation, construction, and services sectors. Hiring intentions have cooled, with only 11% planning to create new jobs in the next three months, marking the lowest intent since May 2020.

As optimism falters amid these economic headwinds, the outlook for small businesses in America remains deeply uncertain, reflecting broader concerns about the country's economic resilience.

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