December 9, 2019
By Mary Miller
Contributing Editor, Main Street Monday
Main Street Monday – Main Street Optimism Levels Remain High
As economists and investors debate whether or not a recession looms on the horizon, small business owners remain cautiously optimistic.
“The small business people are at the end of the supply chain. If it’s a consumer-led recession, small businesses are the first to know,” says William Dunkelberg, chief economist with NFIB.
Three recent surveys indicate no sign of a recession. Rather, they predict a continued focus on the creation of jobs, capital spending, and inventory investment:
- The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and MetLife’s Small Business Index comes in at 71.3 in Q4 2019, up from 70.7 in Q3, the highest level since 2017.
- The CNBC/SurveyMonkey Small Business Confidence Index comes in at 59 in Q4 2019 over 57 in Q3.
- The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) Small Business Optimism Index reports a reading of 102.4 in October compared to 101.8 in September.
Additionally, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce reports that one in five small businesses surveyed say that they plan to increase hiring efforts over next year, which will keep unemployment rates at record low levels.
Of all survey results, small manufacturing businesses reported the lowest of optimism levels and future revenue projections. Independent manufacturers slipped from 48.3 in October to 48.1 in November, according to the Institute for Supply Management’s Factory Activity Index. However, small business investment plans continue to be reported as strong in the small business manufacturing industry.