NFIB: Small business optimism continues slide, but some improvement in expectations for next 6 months.

The latest Small Business Optimism Index from NFIB contains few surprises. Things are not good.

Small business optimism took another dive in April, falling 5.5 points to 90.9, with owners expressing certainty the economy will weaken in the near-term, but expecting it to improve over the next six months. The Optimism Index has fallen 13.6 points over the last two months, with nine of 10 Index components declining in April and one improving.

Well, maybe that uptick in expectations for improvement in the coming half year is a bit surprising. As the chart below shows, it’s about the only good news among the components of the index.

Federal assistance is beginning to help, but more flexibility and liability protection are needed, say those polled.

“The impact from this pandemic, including government stay-at-home orders and mandated non-essential business closures has had a devasting impact on the small business economy,” said NFIB Chief Economist William Dunkelberg. “Owners are starting to benefit from the PPP and EIDL small business loan programs as they try to reopen and keep employees on staff. Small business owners need more flexibility, though, in using the PPP loan to support business operations and liability protection so that all these efforts to support small businesses are not ultimately lost in costly litigation.”

Read the full report.