Wisconsin Small Business Owners: "Reopen Wisconsin's Economy Now"

Date: May 13, 2020

New NFIB Survey Shows Wisconsin Small Business Overwhelmingly Want to Reopen Right Now.

Wisconsin small business owners overwhelmingly agree – now is the time to reopen the state’s economy. According to a recent survey of NFIB Wisconsin small business owners, 73% say the non-essential business and stay-at-home restrictions should be lifted immediately. As for the government lifting restrictions in Wisconsin too early, 64% of Wisconsin small business owners are not concerned at all. A full 87% of Wisconsin small business owners think Wisconsin’s non-essential business closure is too restrictive and 78% of Wisconsin small business owners believe the state’s stay-at-home order is too restrictive. As for getting Wisconsin’s economy back up and running to levels pre-coronavirus crisis, only 25% of Wisconsin small business owners felt like that would happen in 2020, while more than half, 65% of small business owners in Wisconsin felt like that wouldn’t happen until next year at the earliest.


“Although recent action taken by Governor Tony Evers that allows some retail businesses to open turns the dial in the right direction, the survey results clearly show Wisconsin’s small business community is eager and anxious to reopen,” said NFIB State Director in Wisconsin, Bill G. Smith, “small business owners and their employees want to get to work. The reopening of our economy is critical to the survival of thousands of small Main Street businesses located in communities throughout out state.”



Today’s survey results come on the same day that NFIB found small business optimism continues its two-month slide. Real sales expectations are at a record low, but small business owners expect better business conditions over the next six months.



Small business optimism took another dive in April, falling 5.5 points to 90.9, with owners expressing certainty the economy will weaken in the near-term, but expecting it to improve over the next six months. The Optimism Index has fallen 13.6 points over the last two months, with nine of 10 Index components declining in April and one improving.


The NFIB Uncertainty Index fell 17 points in March to 75, with most owners quite certain that the economy will weaken in the near-term. However, reports of expected better business conditions in the next six months increased 24 points, rebounding from a 17-point decline in March. Owners’ optimism about future conditions indicates they expect the recession to be short-lived.

Other key findings from April’s Optimism Index included:

  • Earnings trends declined 14 points to a net negative 20 percent. Among owners reporting weaker profits, 39 percent blamed weak sales, 16 percent blamed usual seasonal change, six percent cited price changes, four percent cited labor costs, and two percent cited materials costs. For owners reporting higher profits, 63 percent credited sales volumes and 17 percent credited usual seasonal change.
  • The percent of owners thinking it’s a good time to expand lost 10 points falling to three percent, its lowest level since March 2010.

Click here to view the NFIB Small Business Economic Trends Survey

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