California comment on latest National Small Business Poll

Today’s release of NFIB’s monthly Small Business Economic Trends Report is the 50th anniversary issue, but it is not finding small business owners in a mood for celebration.

“This month marks the 50th anniversary of NFIB’s small business economic survey,” said NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg. “The October data shows that small businesses are still recovering, and owners are not optimistic about better business conditions. Small business owners are not growing their inventories as labor and energy costs are not falling, making it a gloomy outlook for the remainder of the year.”

Added John Kabateck, California state director for NFIB, “As we look ahead to 2024 in California, we are not finding much coming out of Sacramento that will change that gloomy outlook. More paid leave mandates, higher unemployment insurance costs, and another crack at an impossibly expensive universal health care scheme are being talked about. Business owners can expect to pay more without any counterbalancing benefit.”

Key findings from today’s SBET include:

  • Twenty-two percent of owners reported that inflation was their single most important problem in operating their business, down one point from last month.
  • Owners expecting better business conditions over the next six months was unchanged from September at a net negative 43 percent (seasonally adjusted).
  • Forty-three percent (seasonally adjusted) of owners reported job openings that were hard to fill, unchanged from September and remains historically very high.
  • Seasonally adjusted, a net 24 percent plan to raise compensation in the next three months, up one point from September.

“Today, in the full maturity of its 50 years,” according to this one-page history of it, “NFIB’s monthly Small Business Economic Trends report is the gold standard measurement of America’s small business economy. Used by the Federal Reserve, Congressional leaders, administration officials, and state legislatures across the nation, it’s regarded as the bellwether on the health and welfare of the Main Street enterprises that employ half of all workers, generate more net new jobs than large corporations, and gave most of us the first start in our working life.”

The SBET (Optimism Index) is a national snapshot of NFIB-member, small-business owners not broken down by state. The typical NFIB member employs 10 people and reports gross sales of about $500,000 a year.

Keep up with the latest on California small-business news at www.nfib.com/california or by following NFIB on Twitter @NFIB_CA or on Facebook @NFIB.CA.