April 15, 2019

By Mary Miller
Contributing Editor, Main Street Monday

Main Street Monday – Small Business Optimism Levels Power Through Challenges; Remain Strong

“Small business owners continue to create jobs, expand their operations, and are enjoying strong sales,” says NFIB President and CEO Juanita Duggan. “Since Congress resolved the shutdown, uncertainty has declined as small business owners add jobs, increase sales, and invest in their businesses and employees.”

Capital Outlay Outlook

Optimism levels for expansion, real sales and capital spending plans are holding steady.

  • 60% of small business owners reported capital outlays (up 2 points)
  • 27% of small business owners project capital outlays in upcoming months (no change)

“Owners are growing their businesses and expect that they can sell more if they can produce more with additional employees,” says NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg. “Investment spending has been solid for the past two years and owners are choosing to invest in their workforce as well by creating new jobs and raising wages.”

Investment plans by market:

  • Wholesale trades(36%)
  • Manufacturing (34%)
  • Retail (33%)
  • Transportation (32%)

Sales Projections

  • A net 5% of all small business owners reported higher nominal sales over the last three months (up 6 points)
  • The net percentage of small business owners projecting higher real sales volumes rose three points to a net 19%.

Borrowing Trends

  • 3% of small business owners reported that all their borrowing needs were not satisfied (unchanged, historically low)
  • 33% reported all credit needs were met (down 1 point)
  • 51% reported no interest in obtaining a loan (unchanged)
  • 6% reported their last loan was more difficult to get than a previous loan (unchanged, historically low)

NFIB Small Business Economic Trends Survey