NFIB: Why So Negative?

Small business sentiment readings are now over their 20 year average, and have moved steadily higher since the crisis ended in 2009. If that uptrend was a stock price, all your momentum trader friends would be buyers.

But you certainly would not get that from reading the NFIB news releases. They have been consistently, persistently, dour — absolutely negative.

Kinda weird . . .



Small Business Optimism Rises in May

Source: NFIB


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  1. campbeld commented on Jun 9

    Perhaps it is due to your macro perspective, similar to the Federal Reserve, but NFIB members, many of which are smaller businesses, live in the micro-world where the actual work gets done with things and people, not just book entries. The current regulatory and legal environment has important effects there. Also, the graph has been below the mean for a long time with a positive slope, but it still is just at the mean. This is a graph of people’s emotions, not a physical law and it can, and has, turned on a dime, regardless of the slope or the current value.

    • rd commented on Jun 9

      Reducing pessimism is not the same as increasing optimism. These are small business owners who are relying on their businesses to pay to put their kids through college, pay off the mortgage, etc. They are having to fight and claw for revenue from people who want reduced prices on everything. They have now swum back up to the surface and can actually see a horizon in the distance for the first time in 6 years but that doesn’t mean they are hosting Jay Gatsby parties. Avoiding bankruptcy is not the same thing as owning a stock that just doubled in value.

  2. Futuredome commented on Jun 9

    This is a group that had their “highest” reading in the the housing bubble era in the last 40 years. lol.

  3. ch commented on Jun 9

    Per above, was highly correlated to housing. Housing is much better but still at absolute levels associated with recession troughs for the past 30- 40 yrs

  4. intlacct commented on Jun 9

    The ‘job creators’ haha

    • willid3 commented on Jun 10

      not exactly

      the real job creators are the customers without whom there would be no jobs. or business

      in spite of what some seem to think
      but considering how hard it is for them to get customers,,its not surprising that they are sour.

      then again they do have a hand in making their own customers so stressed out about prices. cause customers are struggling to make ends meet

  5. 4whatitsworth commented on Jun 10

    GDP shrank in Q1 and has only been growing at 2-3% in this recovery. Do you really think business people should optimistic about this?

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