WASHINGTON, D.C. (Nov. 10, 2020) | The NFIB Optimism Index remained at 104.0 in October, unchanged from September and a historically high reading. Four of the ten components of the index improved, five declined, and one was unchanged.
Although all of the data was collected prior to Election Day, a six-point increase in the NFIB Uncertainty Index to 98 was likely driven by the election and uncertain conditions in future months due to the COVID-19 pandemic and possible government-mandated shutdowns, said NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg.
The uncertainty reading was the highest reading since November 2016.
“Leading up to the presidential election, small businesses continued to focus on stabilizing their businesses but were uncertain about the future economic conditions due to COVID-19 government regulations on all levels,” said Dunkelberg. “We see solid momentum going into the 4th quarter, and another good quarter could get the GDP back to its 2019 closing levels.”
Other key findings:
- Earnings trends over the past three months improved nine points to a net negative 3% reporting higher earnings.
- Earnings trends have improved to pre-crisis levels, up 32 points since June.
- Inventory investment plans for the next three to six months increased 1 point to a net 12%, a record high.
- Real sales expectations in the next three months increased 3 points to a net