Small Business Optimism Slides in September

Date: October 11, 2017

Related Content: News State California Economy

Expected business conditions tumble in NFIB Optimism Index

National Federation of Independent Business/California
Contact: Shawn Lewis (916) 342-9315; [email protected]
Follow: @NFIB_CA and on Facebook

Small Business Optimism Slides in September
Expected business conditions tumble in NFIB Optimism Index

SACRAMENTO, Calif., October 13, 2017 – The NFIB Index of Small Business Optimism tumbled in September from 105.3 to 103 led by a steep drop in sales expectations, not just in hurricane-affected states, but across the country.

“From the national perspective, there may be a temptation is to blame the decline in optimism on the hurricanes in Texas and Florida, but that is not consistent with our data,” said NFIB California State Executive Director Tom Scott. “Small business owners across the country were measurably less enthusiastic last month.”

“The Index remains very high by historical standards,” Scott continued. “Small business owners still expect policy changes from Washington on health care and taxes, and while they don’t know what those changes will look like, they expect them to be an improvement. But the frothy expectations they’ve had in the previous few months clearly slipped in September.”

The net percent of small business owners who expect improved sales in the next three months plunged 12 points to a net 15 percent. Owners who think that it’s a good time to expand dropped 10 points. Also within the Index, expected better business conditions (-6) and capital expenditure plans (-5) retreated in September.

“The drop-off was consistent around the country regardless of region, and it’s likely that members in Florida and Texas were underrepresented in this survey because of the obvious disruptions,” said NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg. “The adjusted average employment change per firm dipped to -0.17, which is a significant drop in hiring activity.

Six of the 10 Index components dropped in September. Three improved, and one remained unchanged. The bright spot last month was inventory plans, which gained five points as more business owners anticipate a strong 4th quarter.

Click here to view the entire NFIB Index of Small Business Optimism.


For more than 70 years, the National Federation of Independent Business has been the Voice of Small Business, taking the message from Main Street to the halls of Congress and all 50 state legislatures. NFIB has 350,000 dues-paying members nationally, with over 22,000 in California. NFIB annually surveys its members on state and federal issues vital to their survival as America’s economic engine and biggest creator of jobs. To learn more visit

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