The NFIB is out with its latest survey of small business optimism, and the numbers are very bad. In fact, the firm’s chief economist specifically said “Something bad happened in November” and that it wasn’t just hurricane Sandy.
Here’s the number.
The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index dropped 5.6 points in November, bottoming out at 87.5. The two major events in November were the national elections and Hurricane Sandy, which devastated parts of the East Coast. To disentangle these, the results for the states impacted by Sandy were excluded from the computation for comparison. When separating the hurricane-impacted states from the remainder, the data makes clear that the election was the primary cause of the decline in owner optimism.
“Something bad happened in November — and based on the NFIB survey data, it wasn’t merely Hurricane Sandy. The storm had a significant impact on the economy, no doubt, but it is very clear that a stunning number of owners who expect worse business conditions in six months had far more to do with the decline in small-business confidence. Nearly half of owners are now certain that things will be worse next year than they are now. Washington does not have the needs of small business in mind. Between the looming ‘fiscal cliff,’ the promise of higher health care costs and the endless onslaught of new regulations, owners have found themselves in a state of pessimism. We are forced to ask: Is this the new normal?” — NFIB chief economist Bill Dunkelberg