March 18, 2019
By Mary Miller
Contributing Editor, Main Street Monday
Main Street Monday – Confidence Levels Stabilize in February
Confidence levels of Main Street business owners stabilized in February, according to the February 2019 NFIB Small Business Optimism Index.
According to the Index:
- NFIB small business optimism index is up half a point, reflecting a slight improvement after five months of decline.
- Small businesses were more positive regarding the overall current business conditions, including the “Now Being a Good Time to Expand” index component rising to 22%.
- Optimism reflected a healthy response to an “Improvement in the Economy,” which rose to 11%.
- Optimism also improved regarding capital outlay plans, up to 27%.
- Earning trends fell to a net negative 9%.
- Optimism regarding higher nominal sales this quarter fell to -1%, a drop of 5 points, the first negative index indicator since the latter part of 2017.
- Small business owners cited labor costs as one of their biggest issues, rising to a reported all-time high of 10%.
Key takeaways from the index results are that although modest, February 2019 shows optimism levels stabilizing after five months of steady decline. Increased optimism surrounding current business conditions, economy and capital outlay expectations all support these more stable index numbers.