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NFIB Weekly News

NFIB Weekly News Leading the News

Small Business Optimism Declines In January, Below Historical Average (02/09/2021)

The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index (2/8) declined to 95.0 in January, three points below the 47-year average of 98 and a decrease of 0.9 from December. The number of small business owners expecting improved business conditions over the next six months declined by seven points to a net negative 23%, the lowest level since November 2013, while the net percent of owners expecting better business conditions has fallen by 55 points in the last four months. NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg was quoted saying, “As Congress debates another stimulus package, small employers welcome any additional relief that will provide a powerful fiscal boost as their expectations for the future are uncertain. ... The COVID-19 pandemic continues to dictate how small businesses operate and owners are worried about future business conditions and sales.”

Bullish Investor Sentiment Contrasts With Mixed Economic Forecasts. Courthouse News (2/5) reported on the contrast between bullish investor sentiment in recent days and the more mixed economic picture presented by jobs reports and the NFIB survey for January. NFIB executive director of research Holly Wade was quoted saying, “The reopening of the Paycheck Protection Program is likely a main factor in the decrease of those anticipating having to close their doors soon but still, the economic recovery remains uneven for small businesses.”


Business Climate

House Small Business Committee Held Hearing On State Of Small Business Economy (02/09/2021)

Credit Union Insight (2/6) reported, “The House Small Business Committee Thursday held a hearing to discuss the state of the small business economy amid the coronavirus pandemic.” During the hearing, “several witnesses discussed how the committee can be helpful to small businesses, specifically regarding improving the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) paycheck protection program (PPP) and economic injury disaster loan (EIDL) program.” In addition, the hearing also “discussed the role of community development financial institutions (CDFIs) helping small businesses in their communities.”


Small Business Marketing

Small Businesses Adapt To Pandemic Consumption Patterns By Turning To Amazon, Etsy To Sell Their Wares (02/09/2021)

In his column for USA Today (2/8, Febius), Mike Febius wrote that although the growth of e-commerce has threatened some smaller, more traditional businesses, it has also provided “a lifeline” to others during the pandemic, helping them to stay afloat during the ongoing recession by allowing them to sell their wares on marketplaces like Amazon and Etsy. In fact, according to Febius, “the line between in-store and online is blurring, driven in part by pivot-or-perish stories,” with many entrepreneurs who own small brick-and-mortar businesses “helping to write the playbook for mom-and-pop success in the post-pandemic era.”


Wages and Benefits

New Unemployment Claims Fell To 779K Last Week (02/09/2021)

The AP (2/4, Rugaber) reported new claims for unemployment benefits “declined to 779,000 last week, a still-historically high total that shows that a sizable number of people keep losing jobs to the viral pandemic.” While the total “declined from 812,000 the previous week,” the AP said the number “reflects a U.S. job market that is still suffering from the pandemic, with hiring having weakened for six straight months.” The New York Times (2/4, Phillips) said economists contend “the latest data strengthens the argument for more stimulus.”
Bloomberg (2/4, Rockeman) said claims “fell last week to the lowest level since the end of November, a sign that job cuts are starting to slow as Covid-19 infections ebb.” According to Bloomberg while the number is and indication “that layoffs related to the pandemic are starting to ebb after jobless claims picked up in December and early January. In the coming months, as more Americans get inoculated and virus cases fall, economic activity is poised to resume and job cuts may decline further.”


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