The NFIB Small Business Outlook report has a single-month table on the “Most Important Reason for Expansion Outlook”. In the May data for reasons related to “economic conditions”, the percentage of respondents citing May as a “good time” for expansion rose to 26% from the 20% in April, and hasn’t been nearly this strong since 25% in May 2018. It also showed 7% of respondents were uncertain in May, down from 10% in April and reporting the least uncertainty since 7% in November 2018.
Economic conditions tends to dominate the reasons provided for the expansion outlook. Second to that is the “political climate”. It rarely shows that survey respondents view it as a “good time” for business expansion, although it did have a brief uptick in November and December 2016 after the election. That faded in subsequent months. Survey respondents’ perceptions of uncertainty in the political climate have rarely dipped below double-digits and suggest that the political climate is rarely viewed with other than at most cautious optimism.
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