Local Comment on Today’s National Economic Trends Report

Date: July 14, 2020

Real sales expectations, job-creation and business-expansion plans improved remarkably

OLYMPIA, Wash., July 14, 2020—The engine of the American economy is trying its best to start smoothly humming again, according to today’s release of the latest Small Business Economic Trends report (also called the Optimism Index) from NFIB, the nation’s leading small-business association. Now, can the surge in coronavirus cases abate long enough to take that engine for a test run on the road to recovery?

“Despite June’s minor uptick in Main Street optimism, policymakers would be wise to take note that 55% of small-business owners are trying to survive on sales volumes that are still down at least 25% from normal. Worse yet, one in five may be forced to lay off additional workers when federal loans run out,” said NFIB Washington State Director Patrick Connor. “While most are hoping for a return to normalcy yet this summer, the sudden ‘pause’ on advancing to higher phases of re-opening – despite local health conditions or capacity – and the specter of regressing to broader shutdowns, threaten to stall the economic recovery our state, communities, and families so desperately need.”

Eight of the 10 Index components rose in June, most sharply of all in the ‘real sales expectations’ component, followed distantly but solidly by ‘job openings,’ ‘good time to expand,’ and ‘job creation plans.’ The net percent of owners expecting higher real sales volumes improved 37 points to a net 13% of owners. The historic 61-point drop over March and April has been followed by a 55-point increase over the past 2 months as owners are expecting higher sales with business re-openings.

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 April 2020. For more information about NFIB, please visit NFIB.com.

“Small businesses are navigating the various federal and state policies in order to reopen their business and they are doing their best to adjust their business decisions accordingly,” said NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg. “We’re starting to see positive signs of increased consumer spending, but there is still much work to be done to get back to pre-crisis levels.”

Related

Did you catch last Friday’s release of NFIB’s 22-question poll of its members? Here are six highlights:

Q4 Have you spent all of your [Paycheck Protection Program] loan funds yet?
56% 1. Yes
44% 2. No

Q17 Do you anticipate needing additional financial support over the next 12 months?
46% 1. Yes
55% 2. No

Q13 Is your business currently impacted by a postponement or reversal of state or local reopening actions?
47% 1. Yes
53% 2. No

Q15 Does your business require employees or customers to wear a face covering?
53% 1. Yes
47% 2. No

Q16 If so, do you find it difficult enforcing the face covering requirement?
46% 1. Yes
54% 2. No

Q20 How long will you be able to operate your business under current economic conditions?
1% 1. Less than 1 month
3% 2. 1-2 months
19% 3. 3-6 months
21% 4. 7-12 months
57% 5. More than 12 months

Keep up with the latest Washington state small-business news at www.nfib.com/washington or by following NFIB on Twitter @NFIB_WA or on Facebook @NFIB.WA

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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 nfib.com.

NFIB Washington
711 Capitol Way South
Suite 505
Olympia, WA 98501
360-786-8675
NFIB.com/WA
Twitter: @NFIB_WA

 

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