The latest issue of the NFIB Small Business Economic Trends is out today. In recent months the closely watched Small Business Optimism Index had been trying to break above recessionary levels. The March report was a disappointing setback, and the April report, released this morning, again moved in the wrong direction. The index is belowthe level at the onset of the Great Recession. The poor reading is similar to the consumer sentiment readings from the Conference Board and the University of Michigan survey.
The Latest Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index was released this morning based on data collected through April 14. The 65.4 reading is a point above the consensus estimate of 64.4, reported by Briefing.com and a modest improvement over the March slight upward revision to 63.8 (from 63.4). Consumer Confidence has lagged in this recovery, just as it did in the recoveries from the 1991-92 and 2001 recessions. All three recoveries have been characterized as “jobless.” Not surprisingly, consumer confidence is apparently a proxy for poor employment levels.
The Index of Small Business Optimism gave up 2.6 points in March, falling to 91.9. Small business owners and consumers are struggling to escape the pessimism of the recession.
NFIB Small Business Sentiment Index keeps improving but is still in the region that was minimum in previous recessions.
Consumer and small business sentiment remains at or near levels associated with the bottoms of other recent recessions. For consumers and small businesses this really is The Great Recession.