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Small Business Optimism Continues to Slide


Latest News > Industry News

The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) Index of Small Business Optimism inched lower in July, reaching 88.1 on the heels of a sharp decline in June. In May the Index stood at 92.2.

The Index has been below 93 every month since January 2008 and below 90 for 24 of those months. These are all readings that are typical of, "a weak or recession-mired economy," says an NFIB news release on the Index. Ninety percent of the July decline is the result of deterioration in the outlook for business conditions in the next six months, NFIB reports.

"The persistence of Index readings below 90 is unprecedented in survey history," the Index summary states. "The performance of the economy is mediocre at best, given the extent of the decline over the past two years.

"Pent up demand should be immense but it is not triggering a rapid pickup in economic activity," the summary adds.

"The recovery in optimism that we are currently experiencing is very weak compared to recoveries after the 1982 and 1975 recessions," said Bill Dunkelberg, NFIB's chief economist. "The small business sector is not on a sustained positive trajectory, and with this half of the private sector missing in action, the economy's poor growth performance is not surprising."

The July survey is based on 2,029 small business owner respondents of a random sample of NFIB member firms surveyed through the end of July.

Read and download a PDF of the full Index.