Small-business owners expecting improved conditions in next six months fell 24 points
HELENA, Mont., Jan. 12, 2021—The state director for Montana’s leading small-business association suggested one thing the Legislature could do to help ameliorate the grim news stemming from today’s release of NFIB’s monthly Small Business Economic Trends (SBET) report, also known as the Optimism Index.
“This latest report shows that Main Street businesses are losing hope,” said Ronda Wiggers, Montana state director for NFIB, which produces the monthly Optimism Index, a national snapshot not broken down by state. “The recently opened second round of Paycheck Protection Program loans will help, but states can do their part by alleviating the worries of higher taxes and more regulations, and, as Senate Bill 65 seeks to do in Montana, provide some liability protection from frivolous lawsuits.”
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 NFIB.com.
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 Montana small business at www.nfib.com/MT.
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.
National Federation of Independent Business/Montana
491 South Park Ave.
Helena, MT 59601