Research >> Economics

NFIB Small Business Optimism Index fell 0.2 in April to 104.5


The Index of Small Business Optimism fell 0.2 points to 104.5, sustaining the remarkable surge in optimism that started the day after the election. Five of the 10 Index components posted a gain, three declined, and two were unchanged. The Index has posted historically record high readings for six months, a performance eclipsed only in 1983. The modest decline in the Index was accounted for primarily by declining expectations for business conditions, most likely due to the turmoil in Washington, D.C. and plans to make capital expenditures.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA), Obamacare, was a predictable failed experiment. Sadly, after seven years since it’s passage, the ACA “details” are still being “written” by the bureaucrats. Debate in the house marked by serious doubts among republicans and severe oppopsition by democrates and too little leadship from the White House. The health care vote in the house repairs some of that dynamic but remains to be seen how small business owners will respond to these efforts in next month’s survey.

The first quarter GDP number was weaker than expected, due to changes in inventory investment, slower auto sales and a negative trade gap. The economy is stronger than 0.7 percent growth, capital spending is better and inventory reductions will reverse.

The Federal Reserve may decide that even though the economy is better than “0.7”, the optics of raising rates would not be good and therefore they will defer their two remaining rate hikes to later meetings. There is no chance they will do an “inter-meeting hike” as Greenspan was willing to do. The Fed will continue conduct this “monthly monetary policy” process, refusing to establish a longer term program of more predictable policy. Doing this each month produces much uncertainty in financial markets. Traders love this and much money is made in trading by the big banks rather than in traditional lending. In the meantime, hesitancy at the Fed raises uncertainty about the future of economic growth.

Small business owners have held on to their optimism, and have reported improvements in activities that signal more growth in the real economy, even if modest. If Congress does not disappoint, small firms are ready to bet on a more optimistic future by investing in their businesses and hiring more workers.






Posted: May 9, 2017 Tuesday 07:00 AM




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