NFIB Small Business Optimism was released earlier this morning and showed a m/m decline for the third straight month. While a trend like that would sure seem to indicate that the post-election optimism has worn off, at a level of 104.5, the headline index is still nearly ten points higher than it was last October. On top of that, April’s reading of 104.5 also came in better than expected. It’s also interesting to note that the last time this index saw a three month losing streak was in the beginning of 2016, and in the first three months of 2015 it also saw two large declines in the first quarter as well, so there may be some seasonality at play here.
The chart to the right shows the issues that small businesses currently consider to be their number one problem. In this month’s report, there really wasn’t much in the way of movement here as Taxes and Red Tape still top the list of biggest problems and Quality of Labor (16%) rounds out the top three. The only real mover of note was the category of Poor Sales which dropped two percentage points to 10%. At current levels, that’s not far from its cycle low of 9% that we saw back in November 2015.
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