Updated:
Original:

Small-business index drops in March

After six months of gains, the Small-Business Optimism Index fell by almost two points in March, settling at 92.5, according to the National Federation of Independent Business, which represents small businesses.

After a promising start to the year, nine of 10 index components dropped last month. Most notably, hiring plans and expected real sales growth each took a significant dive despite owners reporting the largest increase in new jobs per firm in a year.

“March came in like a lion, with Main Street seeing significant job growth in March, but it appears to have gone out like a lamb and with no cheer in the forward-looking labor market indicators. What could have been a trend in job growth is more likely a blip,” National Federation of Independent Business chief economist Bill Dunkelberg said in a statement.

“And what looked like the start of a recovery in profits fizzled out,” he added. “The mood of owners is subdued. They just can’t seem to shake off the uncertainties out there, and confidence that the management team in Washington can deal with them effectively is flagging. What we saw in March is painfully familiar. This was the same pattern of growth, followed by months of decline, from 2011. History appears to be repeating itself — and not in a good way.”

The percentage of owners reporting inflation as their No. 1 business problem is now at 9 percent, an increase from 6 percent in January. Reports of increases in average selling prices are rising and 21 percent of the owners plan to raise their selling prices in the coming months.

Click here for the full report.

Related

Year-End Strategies to Rev Up Your Marketing Machine

Get in the marketing fast lane going into 2022.

A Cautious Outlook

Consumer confidence dipped as pandemic deaths rose.

The Dirty Dozen

Bill Yeargin names 12 mistakes that hold back leaders.

Where We’ve Been, Where We’re Headed

Recreational boating is winning, but we must work to ensure our continued success

Change or Die

Sustaining one’s place in the market is a tender trap.

Seeing the Light

Electronic distress signaling devices, an alternative to flares.

Going Electric

Yamaha’s Harmo e-propulsion debuts in the U.S.

Predicting the Unpredictable

How to prepare your dealership for whatever 2022 brings

Q&A with Tom Slikkers

Tiara Yachts president and CEO Tom Slikkers and his brother David talk boats.