Comment on Today’s Small Business Survey Results

Date: May 12, 2020

There’s a glimmer of hope in an otherwise depressing report

Contact: Tony Gagliardi, Colorado State Director, [email protected],
or Tony Malandra, Senior Media Manager, [email protected]

DENVER, May 12, 2020—Comment from Tony Gagliardi, NFIB Colorado state director, about today’s release of the monthly Small Business Economic Trends report, also called the Optimism Index, from NFIB.

“No one was expecting any good news to come from the nation’s most-watched-for barometer of the Main Street economy, but I was pleasantly surprised to find one of its 10 index components, Expect Economy to Improve, having increased 24 points over the previous month’s finding. It helped cushion the blow of seeing the ‘real sales expectations’ component nosedive to its lowest reading in the 46-year history of the survey. Policymakers were right to get a grip on the spread of the virus first. Now, some attention must be given the economy. Unlike at any other time, the span between giving the appearance of doing something and actually doing something must be its shortest ever, if it can’t be nonexistent.” 

NFIB Research Center has collected Small Business Economic Trends Data with Quarterly surveys since 1973 and monthly surveys since 1986. The sample is drawn from the membership files of the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB). The SBET is one of the few archival data sets on small business, particularly when research questions address business operations rather than opinions. Today, it’s the largest, longest-running data set on small business economic conditions available.

“The full force of the ‘recession’ has not yet been felt as programs such as PPP encourage firms to maintain employment even as the government shutdown reduces business activity,” wrote NFIB Chief Economist William Dunkelberg for this month’s SBET. “A large percentage of the unemployed expect to be rehired as the economy opens back up, but the picture is further confused by unemployment benefits that for many exceed previous pay. Small business owners are starting to rehire laid-off employees as states lift business restrictions and small business loans are hitting bank accounts.”

ATTENTION Business Reporters, Editors: Tomorrow, May 13, NFIB will hold one of its free, regular webinars. Tomorrow’s title: Small Business and COVID-19: Your Questions Answered Live! Click here for more information and to register. All of NFIB’s COVID-19-related news, information, webinars, and resources can be found at

Keep up with the latest Colorado small-business news at or by following NFIB on Twitter @NFIB_CO or on Facebook @NFIB.CO


NFIB is the voice of small business, advocating on behalf of America’s small and independent business owners, both in Washington, D.C., and in all 50 state capitals. NFIB is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, and member-driven association. Since our founding in 1943, NFIB has been exclusively dedicated to small and independent businesses and remains so today. For more information, please visit

NFIB Colorado
1700 Lincoln Street, 17th Floor
Denver, CO 80203
Twitter: @NFIB_CO
Facebook: NFIB.CO

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