NFIB: Small Biz Optimism Soars

Small-business optimism is at its highest level in 34 years, according to an index released by the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), a business advocacy group. The survey is especially pertinent for the promo market, as data shows more than 95% of ASI-listed promo products companies are small firms.

“Small-business owners are exuberant about the economy, and they are ready to lead the U.S. economy in a period of robust growth,” said Juanita Duggan, NFIB president and CEO. 

The NFIB’s optimism index gained 3.7 points in November. Eight of 10 components posted gains, including a 16-point gain in “expected better business conditions” and a 13-point jump in “sales expectations.” 

“This is the second-highest reading in the 44-year history of the Index,” said Bill Dunkelberg, chief economist for NFIB. “The NFIB indicators clearly anticipate further upticks in economic growth, perhaps pushing up toward 4% GDP growth for the fourth quarter.” 

The “plans to create new jobs” segment was up six points in November. The number of owners who said it’s a “good time to expand” rose four points; “inventory plans” jumped three points; and “inventory satisfaction” increased by three points. However, the “current jobs” reading was down five points and the “plans to make capital outlays” measure fell one point.

“Job creation faded, but hiring plans soared, primarily in construction, manufacturing and professional services,” Dunkelberg said.

The NFIB Research Foundation has collected Small Business Economic Trends data with quarterly surveys since the end of 1973 and monthly surveys since 1986. Survey respondents are drawn from the NFIB’s membership.