The small business optimism index rose 3.8 points to 104 in September, the highest reading since February, according to a report by the National Federation of Independent Business. The index includes data on plans for hiring and capital outlays, and expectations for the economy to improve.
In a reflection of this increased optimism, the NFIB found that a seasonally adjusted net 23% of small businesses said they planned to create new jobs in the next three months, up 2 percentage points from August, and 22 percentage points above April. This shows the growing expectations that business owners have for an improved economy, despite the impediment of the pandemic.
Additionally, capital spending showed rising confidence, with 53% of small businesses reporting capital expenditures in the past six months, which was up 6 percentage points from August. Although these results are above pandemic lows, they are still 10 points below the January readings, before the onset of the coronavirus crisis. The most common expenditures were in new equipment, acquired vehicles and facilities.
For more information on how the coronavirus is affecting midsize businesses, please visit the RSM Coronavirus Resource Center.