The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) said that sentiment among small business owners edged slightly higher in May. The Small Business Optimism Index increased from 93.6 in April to 93.8 in May, its highest level since January. It marked some improvement from March’s two-year low in optimism, even as small firms continue to be concerned about the overall economic outlook. On this latter point, the headline index has remained below 100 – the threshold at which we would say that the sector was growing more strongly – since December 2014. Indeed, demand has been soft for small businesses, with the net percentage reporting higher sales in the last three months dropping from -6 percent to -8 percent. Looking ahead, the net percentage expecting sales to increase in the next three months was unchanged at 1 percent.
ShopFloor is the blog of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM).