NFIB Small Business Optimism – May 2016

The May NFIB Small Business Optimism report was released today, June 14, 2016. The headline of the Small Business Economic Trends report is “Small Business Optimism Rises Modestly In May.”

The Index of Small Business Optimism increased .2 points in May to 93.8.

Here are some excerpts from that I find particularly notable (but don’t necessarily agree with):

The Index of Small Business Optimism rose two tenths of a point in May to 93.8, a negligible increase showing no real enthusiasm for making capital outlays, increasing inventories, or expanding, according to the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB).



The net percent of all owners (seasonally adjusted) reporting higher nominal sales in the past 3 months compared to the prior 3 months deteriorated 2 percentage points to a net negative 8 percent, a poor reading and reflective of weaker consumer spending in Q1. Fourteen percent cited weak sales as their top business problem, up 3 points from April. Overall, this is not a strong sales picture. Seasonally adjusted, the next percent of owners expecting higher real sales volumes was unchanged at a net 1 percent of owners, a weak showing. This is well below the average 14 point reading in the first three months of 2015.

The net percent of owners reporting inventory increases deteriorated 1 point to a net negative 6 percent (seasonally adjusted), a weak reading. The net percent of owners viewing current inventory stocks as “too low” improved a point to a net negative 4 percent. The net percent of owners planning to add to inventory decreased 1 point to a net negative 1 percent. These weak inventory investment readings are consistent with the rather poor performance of consumer spending in the first quarter, leaving owners with excessive stocks and no incentive to add to them.



Fifty-eight percent reported capital outlays, down 2 points. The percent of owners planning capital outlays in the next 3 to 6 months fell 2 points to 23 percent. Seasonally adjusted, the net percent expecting better business conditions increased 5 percentage points to a net negative 13 percent. The seasonally adjusted net percent expecting higher real sales was unchanged at 1 percent of all owners, not very strong. Clearly, expectations for the economy are not conducive to a meaningful improvement in business investment.

Here is a chart of the NFIB Small Business Optimism chart, as seen in the June 14 Doug Short post titled “NFIB: Small Business Survey Rises Modestly in May“:

NFIB Small Business Optimism Index

Further details regarding small business conditions can be seen in the full May 2016 NFIB Small Business Economic Trends (pdf) report.


The Special Note summarizes my overall thoughts about our economic situation

SPX at 2069.88 as this post is written