Comment on Latest Economic Optimism Index Findings

Date: September 13, 2022

California doing its best to keep things a little grimmer along Main Street

Contact: John Kabateck, California State Director, [email protected]
or Tony Malandra, Senior Media Manager, [email protected]

SACRAMENTO, Calif., Sept. 13, 2022—The good news to seep out of today’s release of the National Federation of Independent Business’s monthly Small Business Economic Trends (SBET) report (aka the Optimism Index) is that the Index rose 1.9 points to 91.8. The bad news? That still makes it the eighth consecutive month below the 48-year average of 98.

“The Optimism Index’s latest findings, to me, are equivalent to a patient being able to make it to the bathroom on his own now but still very much in the sick ward for the foreseeable future,” said John Kabateck, NFIB’s California state director. “Our Optimism Index is a national poll not broken down by state, but you can always count on California to exacerbate any economic problem with such things as the recent wholesale seizure of all wages and workplace conditions control out of the hands of fast-food franchisees and into the hands of a new state agency.”

The nation’s bellwether measurement of the Main Street economy since 1973, the SBET is a poll of NFIB-member, small-business owners. Sixty percent of NFIB-member small businesses employ between one and five workers. Add firms employing six to nine workers and the percentage grows to 74%.

Key findings in today SBET/Optimism Index report include:

  • Small business owners expecting better business conditions over the next six months improved 10 points from July to a net negative 42%, the highest level since February 2022, but a dismal outlook.
  • The net percent of owners raising average selling prices decreased three points to a net 53% (seasonally adjusted), still a very inflationary outcome.
  • The net percent of owners who expect real sales to be higher increased 10 points from July to a net negative 19%, but owners still want to hire.
  • The Uncertainty Index increased seven points to 74.

From NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg

“The small business economy is still recovering from the pandemic while inflation continues to be a serious problem for owners across the nation. Owners are managing the rising costs of utilities, fuel, labor, supplies, materials, rent, and inventory to protect their earnings. The worker shortage is impacting small business productivity as owners raise compensation to attract better workers.”

Keep up with the latest on California small-business news at, where this release can also be read, or by following NFIB on Twitter @NFIB_CA or on Facebook @NFIB.CA.


For nearly 80 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 California
915 L. Street, Suite C-411
Sacramento, CA 95814
Twitter: @NFIB_CA
Facebook: @NFIB.CA


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