The NFIB’s Small Business Optimism Index Rises 1.9% in August

The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), one of the largest small business associations in the US, reported today (9-13-22) their NFIB Small Business Optimism Index (SBOI) for August 2022. According to the report, the August SBOI increased 1.9 points to a reading of 91.8; however, it is the eighth consecutive month that the SBOI has been below the 48-year average reading of 98. The August increase did, however, reverse some of the declines experienced in the first half of this year.

Other highlights of the SBOI include the following:

  • Owners surveyed in August that are expecting better business conditions over the next six months increased ten points from July to a net negative 42%, the highest level since February 2022 but still a dismal outlook.
  • The net percentage of owners who expect real sales to be higher increased 10 points from July to a net negative 19%.
  • Forty-nine percent of owners reported job openings that were hard to fill, unchanged from July and remaining historically high. Owners planning to fill open positions remained elevated, with a seasonally adjusted net 21% planning to create new jobs in the next three months.
  • The net percent of owners raising average selling prices dropped three points to net 53% (seasonally adjusted), a still very inflationary outcome.
  • The uncertainty index increased seven points to a reading of 74.

Adding additional background and his insight to the August SBOI, NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg said:

“The small business economy is still recovering from the pandemic while inflation continues to be a serious problem for owners across the nation. Owners are managing the rising costs of utilities, fuel, labor, supplies, materials, rent and inventory to protect their earnings. The worker shortage is impacting small business productivity as owners raise compensation to attract better workers.”

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