Apr 9, 2024 2 min read

Will Depressed Small Business Owners Depress The Economy?

Will Depressed Small Business Owners Depress The Economy?
Photo by Mike Petrucci / Unsplash

Stocks marked time today, while bonds rallied after the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) released its March survey of small business owners this morning. It was a pessimistic report overall. The small business optimism index fell to the lowest reading since December 2012 (chart). Yet, the solid performance of the economy has been at odds with the mounting pessimism of small business owners since early 2022.

The employment-related series in the NFIB survey have dropped sharply in recent months and mostly continued to do so in March. However, the job openings series remained flat at February's reading of 37%. It is highly correlated with the JOLTS job openings series and both suggest that there are still plenty of available open employment positions (chart).

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