The engine of U.S. job growth receives a blow.
The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index fell 8.1 points in March to 96.4, the largest monthly decline in the survey’s history. Nine of the 10 Index components declined, which is evidence that economic disruptions are escalating on Main Street as small businesses struggle to keep their doors open. The small business sector is anticipating and bracing for continued economic disruptions going forward. The full report (PDF) can be seen here. Here is an overview.
- The NFIB Uncertainty Index rose 12 points in March to 92, the highest level since March 2017
- The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index fell 8.1 points in March to 96.4. That’s the largest monthly decline in the survey’s history. It also ended a historic run of 39-months of business optimism above 100.
- Predictions of better business conditions in the next six months declined 17 points
- Real sales expectations in the next six months declined 31 points to a net negative 12%, the largest monthly decline in the survey’s history.
- Thirteen percent of firms thought it was a good time to expand, a decline of 13 points from last month
- Job openings fell three points to 35%
“Small businesses are living through the coronavirus pandemic right now and it’s hard to say what the severity of the disruption