Small Business Optimism Rebounds in May But Earning Trends Decline (2020)

In May, NFIB’s monthly Small Business Optimism Index rebounded from its historic drop over the past three months. In May, the index increased 3.5 points to 94.4, an improvement from April’s 90.9 reading.

Eight of the ten index components improved in May, two declined.

“As states begin to reopen, small businesses continue to navigate the economic landscape rocked by COVID-19 and new government policies. It’s still uncertain when consumers will feel comfortable returning to small businesses and begin spending again, but owners are taking the necessary precautions to reopen safely.”

Bill Dunkelberg
NFIB Chief Economist

As NFIB reported in its monthly jobs report last week, the small business labor market weakened further in the February-April period. May survey respondents reported a reduction in employment by 0.17 workers per firm in the prior three months.

The NFIB Research Foundation has collected Small Business Economic Trends data with quarterly surveys since the 4th quarter of 1973 and monthly surveys since 1986. Survey respondents are drawn from NFIB’s membership. The report is released on the second Tuesday of each month. This survey was conducted in May 2020. 

Charts: NFIB

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