Idaho Comment on Today’s Historic Drop in Optimism

Date: January 12, 2021

Small-business owners expecting improved conditions in next six months fell 24 points

Contact: Suzanne Budge, Idaho State Director, [email protected]
or Tony Malandra, Senior Media Manager, [email protected]

BOISE, Idaho, Jan. 12, 2021—Idaho’s insistence on swimming against the tide is putting its citizens in a better position to economically rebound quicker than people in other states, said the state director for the nation’s largest small-business association in response to today’s release of NFIB’s Small Business Economic Trends (SBET) report, also known as the Optimism Index.

“No one was expecting the latest SBET to be a rosy one, but the precipitous drop in a number of its components did turn heads,” said Suzanne Budge, Idaho state director for NFIB, which produces the monthly Optimism Index, a national snapshot not broken down by state. “Today’s release comes a day after Gov. Brad Little’s state-of-the-state speech detailing some of the successes Idaho has had in managing its finances, which has led to budget surpluses that can now fund tax relief for Idahoans. This is just not happening in many states. This doesn’t mean we can rest. I’d like to thank again the Joint Legislative Economic Outlook and Revenue Assessment Committee for allowing small business to present its five biggest worries [Slide 18], which I hope this session of the Legislature can help allay.”

Today’s SBET found nine of the 10 Optimism Index components declined and only one improved. Owners expecting better business conditions over the next six months declined 24 points to a net negative 16%.

From NFIB chief economist Bill Dunkelberg

“This month’s drop in small business optimism is historically very large, and most of the decline was due to the outlook of sales and business conditions in 2021. Small businesses are concerned about potential new economic policy in the new administration and the increased spread of COVID-19 that is causing renewed government-mandated business closures across the nation.”

About the Small Business Economic Trends (SBET)

The NFIB Research Center has collected Small Business Economic Trends data with quarterly surveys since the 4th quarter of 1973 and monthly surveys since 1986. Survey respondents are drawn from a random sample of NFIB’s membership. The report is released on the second Tuesday of each month. This survey was conducted in December 2020. For more information about NFIB, please visit

The SBET’s primary value is anticipating short-run fluctuations in economic activity. An additional value of the SBET is its measurement of small business activities and concerns over time. The benefit of a longitudinal data set offers an invaluable perspective on how policies and business cycles impact small businesses over time. 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.

Keep up with the latest on Idaho small business at


For more than 77 years, NFIB has been 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 its founding in 1943, NFIB has been exclusively dedicated to small and independent businesses and remains so today. For more information, please visit

National Federation of Independent Business/Idaho
802 W. Bannock, Ste. 301
Boise, ID 83702
Twitter: NFIB_ID



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