NFIB SMALL BUSINESS ECONOMIC TRENDS 1 day ago ¢  Earnings trends over the past three...

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Transcript of NFIB SMALL BUSINESS ECONOMIC TRENDS 1 day ago ¢  Earnings trends over the past three...

  • May 2018

    Index Component Seasonally

    Adjusted Level Change from Last Month

    Contribution to Index Change

    Plans to Increase Employment 16% 8 12% Plans to Make Capital Outlays 22% 2 3% Plans to Increase Inventories 7% 5 7% Expect Economy to Improve 39% 5 7% Expect Real Sales Higher 13% 37 54% Current Inventory 1% 6 9% Current Job Openings 32% 9 13% Expected Credit Conditions -6% -2 - 3% Now a Good Time to Expand 13% 8 12% Earnings Trends -35% -9 -13% Total Change 69 100%

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    Based on a Survey of Small and Independent Business Owners

    NFIB SMALL BUSINESS ECONOMIC TRENDS

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    William C. Dunkelberg Holly Wade

    June 2020

    SMALL BUSINESS OPTIMISM INDEX COMPONENTS

  • NFIB SMALL BUSINESS ECONOMIC TRENDS _____________________________________

    NFIB Research Center has collected Small Business Economic Trends Data with Quarterly surveys since 1973 and monthly surveys since 1986. The sample is drawn from the membership files of the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB). Each was mailed a questionnaire and one reminder. Subscriptions for twelve monthly SBET issues are $250. Historical and unadjusted data are available, along with a copy of the questionnaire, from the NFIB Research Center. You may reproduce Small Business Economic Trends items if you cite the publication name and date and note it is a copyright of the NFIB Research Center. © NFIB Research Center. ISBS #0940791-24-2. Chief Economist William C. Dunkelberg and Director of Research and Policy Analysis Holly Wade are responsible for the report. IN THIS ISSUE ____________________________

    Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 Commentary. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Optimism . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Outlook . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Earnings . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Sales . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Prices . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 Employment. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 Compensation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Credit Conditions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Inventories . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 Capital Outlays. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 Most Important Problem . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 Survey Profile . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 Economic Survey. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20

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    SUMMARY OPTIMISM INDEX The Optimism Index rose 6.2 points in June to 100.6. Eight of the 10 Index components improved and two declined. The NFIB Uncertainty Index decreased 1 point in June to 81. Real sales expectations in next three months increased 37 points to net 13 percent. Owners are anticipating improving sales as the economy continues to re-open. Expectations about future sales have rebounded after April’s lowest reading in survey history of net negative 42 percent. Reports of expected better business conditions in the next six months increased 5 points to a net 39 percent. Owners continue to be optimistic about future business conditions indicating they expect the recession to be short-lived. Earnings trends over the past three months declined to a net negative 35 percent, the lowest reading since March 2010. The percent of owners thinking it’s a good time to expand improved 8 points to 13 percent of owners. Job creation plans increased 8 points to a net 16 percent. The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) accounts for some of the increase in hiring plans.

    LABOR MARKETS The small business labor market remains weak with signs of potential strengthening in the near term. Respondents reported reduced employment by 0.28 workers per firm on average over the past several months. Six percent (unchanged) reported increasing employment an average of 2.6 workers per firm and 22 percent (up 1 point) reported reducing employment an average of 4.6 workers per firm (seasonally adjusted). A seasonally-adjusted net 16 percent plan to create new jobs in the next three months, up 8 points and historically high. Thirty- two percent (seasonally adjusted) of all owners reported job openings they could not fill in the current period, up 9 points. Twenty-five percent of the firms increasing employment also eliminated some jobs. Twenty-seven percent have openings for skilled workers (up 7 points) and 11 percent have openings for unskilled labor (up 1 point). Twenty-three percent of owners reported few qualified applicants for their open positions (up 4 points) and 20 percent reported none (up 2 points). Forty-one percent of the job openings in construction are for skilled workers. Fifty-one percent reported hiring or trying to hire in June, up 7 points. Forty-three percent (84 percent of those hiring or trying to hire) reported few or no “qualified” applicants for the positions they were trying to fill, up 6 points.

    CAPITAL SPENDING Forty-eight percent reported capital outlays in the last 6 months, down 4 points from May. Of those making expenditures, 32 percent reported spending on new equipment (down 3 points), 18 percent acquired vehicles (down 2 points), and 14 percent improved or expanded facilities (down 1 point). Five percent acquired new buildings or land for expansion (unchanged), and 9 percent spent money for new fixtures and furniture (down 1 point). Twenty-two percent plan capital outlays in the next few months, up 2 points from May. Plans are trending up, but still remain at recession levels.

    This survey was conducted in June 2020. A sample of 5,000 small-business owners/members was drawn. Six hundred seventy (670) usable responses were received — a response rate of 13.4 percent.

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    SALES AND INVENTORIES A net negative 31 percent of all owners (seasonally adjusted) reported higher nominal sales in the past three months, down 12 points from May. Sales look stronger in the last few weeks of June. The net percent of owners expecting higher real sales volumes improved 37 points to a net 13 percent of owners. The historic 61-point drop over March and April has been followed by 55-point increase over the past two months as owners are expecting higher sales with business re-openings.

    The net percent of owners reporting inventory increases improved 1 point to a net negative 14 percent. Inventory levels are surprisingly low. The net percent of owners viewing current inventory stocks as “too low” improved to 1 percent, a 6-point increase from May. The net percent of owners planning to expand inventory holdings increased from May by 5 points to a net 7 percent as sales prospects improved.

    COMPENSATION AND EARNINGS Seasonally adjusted, a net 14 percent reported raising compensation (unchanged), well below the 36 percent reading in February before Covid-19 policies were implemented in March. A net 13 percent plan to do so in the coming months, up 3 points from May. Eight percent cited labor costs as their top problem up 2 points from May. Nineteen percent of the owners selected “finding qualified labor” as their top business problem, 30 percent in construction. The frequency of reports of positive profit trends fell 9 points to a net negative 35 percent reporting quarter on quarter profit improvement. Among owners reporting weaker profits, 61 percent blamed weak sales, 9 percent blamed usual seasonal change, 5 percent cited price changes, 3 percent cited labor costs, and 1 percent cited materials costs. For owners reporting higher profits, 65 percent credited sales volumes and 19 percent credited usual seasonal change.

    CREDIT MARKETS Three percent of owners reported that all their borrowing needs were not satisfied (unchanged). Thirty-four percent reported all credit needs met (up 1 point) and 54 percent said they were not interested in a loan (up 2 points). A net 3 percent reported their last loan was harder to get than in previous attempts (up 1 point). One percent reported that financing was their top business problem (down 1 point). The net percent of owners reporting paying a higher rate on their most recent loan was negative 9 percent, up 4 points. Twenty-seven percent of all owners reported borrowing on a regular basis (up 1 point). The average rate paid on short maturity loans was down 0.1 points at 4.5 percent. Historically, loans have never been cheaper.

    INFLATION The net percent of owners raising average selling prices rose 9 points to a net negative 5 percent, seasonally adjusted. Unadjusted, 18 percent (down 5 points) reported lower average selling prices and 15 percent (up 3 points) reported higher average prices. Price hikes were most frequent in retail (12 percent higher, 23 percent lower) and wholesale (18 percent higher, 28 percent lower). Seasonally adjusted, a net 12 percent plan price hikes (up 3 points).