BOISE — The engine of the American economy is trying its best to start smoothly humming again, according to Tuesday’s release of the latest Small Business Economic Trends report (also called the Optimism Index) from NFIB, the nation’s leading small-business association. Now, can the surge in coronavirus cases abate long enough to take that engine for a test run on the road to recovery?

“Although this is a national survey, I do believe initiatives taken by Gov. Brad Little have played a part in helping the Idaho economy get some traction,” said Suzanne Budge, Idaho state director for NFIB. “And, I encourage small-business owners to take him up on his offer to apply for a seat on the state’s Economic Advisory Council. Small-business input is vital for all economic decisions.”

Eight of the 10 Index components rose in June, most sharply of all in the ‘real sales expectations’ component, followed distantly but solidly by ‘job openings,’ ‘good time to expand,’ and ‘job creation plans.’ The net percent of owners expecting higher real sales volumes improved 37 points to a net 13% of owners. The historic 61-point drop over March and April has been followed by a 55-point increase over the past 2 months as owners are expecting higher sales with business re-openings.

The NFIB Research Center has collected Small Business Economic Trends data with quarterly surveys since the 4th quarter of 1973 and monthly surveys since 1986. Survey respondents are drawn from a random sample of NFIB’s membership. The report is released on the second Tuesday of each month. This survey was conducted in April 2020. For more information about NFIB, please visit NFIB.com.

“Small businesses are navigating the various federal and state policies in order to reopen their business and they are doing their best to adjust their business decisions accordingly,” said NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg. “We’re starting to see positive signs of increased consumer spending, but there is still much work to be done to get back to pre-crisis levels.”

NFIB recently conducted a 22-question poll of its members? Following are highlights:

Q. Have you spent all of your [Paycheck Protection Program] loan funds yet? 

56% 1. Yes; 44% 2. No

Q. Do you anticipate needing additional financial support over the next 12 months? 

46% 1. Yes; 55% 2. No

Q. Is your business currently impacted by a postponement or reversal of state or local reopening actions?

47% 1. Yes; 53% 2. No 

Q. Does your business require employees or customers to wear a face covering?

53% 1. Yes; 47% 2. No

Q. If so, do you find it difficult enforcing the face covering requirement?

46% 1. Yes; 54% 2. No 

Q. How long will you be able operate your business under current economic conditions?

1% 1. Less than 1 month; 3% 2. 1-2 months; 19% 3. 3-6 months; 21% 4. 7-12 months; 57% 5. More than 12 months

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