The NFIB’s Small Business Optimism Index Increased 0.6 Points in February

The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), one of the largest small business associations in the US, reported on Tuesday (3-14-23) its NFIB Small Business Optimism Index (SBOI) for February 2023. According to the report, the February SBOI increased 0.6 points to a reading of 90.9—the fourteenth consecutive month that the SBOI has been below the 49-year average reading of 98.

Owners expecting better business conditions over the next six months declined by 2 points from January to a net negative 47%. Inflation remains the single most important problem with 28% of owners reporting it as their top problem in operating their business.

Other highlights of the SBOI include the following:

  • Forty-seven percent of business owners reported job opening that were hard to fill, remaining historically very high.
  • The net percentage of owners raising average selling prices decreased four points to a net 38% (seasonally adjusted).
  • The net percent of owners who expect real sales to be higher improved five points from January to a net negative 9%.

Adding additional background and his analysis to the release of the February SBOI, NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg said:

“Small business owners remain doubtful that business conditions will get better in the coming months. They continue to struggle with historic inflation and labor shortages that holding back growth. Despite their economic challenges, owners are working hard to create new jobs to strengthen the economy and their firms.”

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