U.S. small-business owners are more pessimistic about their revenue outlook than at any point in decades, even as a greater share anticipate the recession will be brief.
The National Federation of Independent Business’s index of sales expectations for the next six months plummeted 30 points in April to minus 42, the lowest in the group’s monthly data back to 1986. At the same time, a net 29% of small-business owners, the most since October 2018, said the economy will be better in six months.
The NFIB’s overall gauge of small-business optimism dropped 5.5 points in April to a seven-year low of 90.9, according to data issued Tuesday. While nine of the index’s 10 components declined, the economic optimism helped the main index top the median analyst estimate of 83.
“The impact from this pandemic, including government stay-at-home orders and mandated non-essential business closures, has had a devastating impact on the small business economy,” William Dunkelberg, NFIB’s chief economist, said in a statement.
The report also showed declines in plans to create new jobs, boost compensation and invest in capital equipment.
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