NFIB Small Business Optimism – A Few Comments

On April 13, the NFIB put out a notable press release.

Although the entire press release is worth reading, here are some notable excerpts:

“The March reading is very low and headed in the wrong direction,” said Bill Dunkelberg, NFIB chief economist. “Something isn’t sitting well with small business owners. Poor sales and uncertainty continue to overwhelm any other good news about the economy.”


“Plans to make capital expenditures over the next few months fell one point to 19 percent, three points above the 35-year record low.”


“The net percent of all owners (seasonally adjusted) reporting higher nominal sales in the past three months improved 1 point to a net negative 25 percent. Widespread price cutting continued to contribute to reports of lower nominal sales.”


““What small businesses need most are increased sales, giving them a reason to hire and make capital expenditures and borrow to support those activities,” said Dunkelberg.”


The lack of increased revenues during our current phase of the purported recovery is very disconcerting.   I have previously written of this condition among larger firms, the most recent post of which was on January 29.

Another widespread facet which is disconcerting is the amount of discounting and pricing pressures.

In aggregate, many firms are finding this economic environment to be challenging, if not exceedingly so.  Of course, this stands in stark contrast to such economic measures such as strong GDP growth and robust financial markets.

I believe that many firms will continue to face very challenging conditions, and many will ultimately fail, unfortunately.  I base this belief on a number of factors including my overall economic assessment as well as business-specific factors.

Early in 2009 I wrote an article about the extreme conditions businesses are being subjected to and how they can adapt.  The article is titled “The Value of Business Analysis During This Economic Malaise.”

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