The NFIB's SBET has just been released and, consistent with last week's tease, it paints a deteriorating story:
Small Business Owners'Optimism in the Tank; Index Falls Again
WASHINGTON, December 8, 2009 – The National Federation of Independent Business Index of Small Business Optimism lost 0.8 points in November, falling to 88.3 (1986=100), 7.3 points above March’s recession bottom. In the deep 1981-82 recession, the Index never fell below 90 and quickly surged to a record high early in 1983. In this recession, the Index has been below 90 for six quarters, indicative of the severity of this downturn.
“The biggest problem continues to be a shortage of customers,” said NFIB Chief Economist William Dunkelberg. “Apparently, owners can’t find a good reason to be optimistic about the future of the economy or their personal future. The legislative agenda in Washington is a major factor blunting consumer and owner optimism.”
Putting aside Mr. Dunkelberg's politics, this report seems to follow the big business/small business decoupling trend that appears to have taken hold. It is hard to overstate the importance of small businesses to job creation, and this report indicates they are nowhere near out of the woods.