Index Touches Third Consecutive All Time High, But Small Businesses See Dip in Local Economies
The MetLife & U.S. Chamber of Commerce Small Business Index rose to 71.7 this quarter, up 0.4 points from 71.3 last quarter. This is the highest score since the survey began in 2017 and marks the third consecutive quarter that the Index has set a new record.
However, the number of small businesses who report good local economic health declined significantly (from 59% in Q4 2019 to 52% in Q1 2020). Small business optimism also waned in three indicators: overall business health, comfort with cash flow, and staff increases. In contrast, the outlook on the national economy improved to a record high 60%, resulting in a slightly higher index score.
The survey was taken between December 19, 2019 - January 31, 2020 and reflects sentiment at the time.
Some key findings this quarter include:
- The number of small businesses reporting a good local economy declined seven percentage points from 59% in Q4 2019 to 52% in Q1.
- There is high optimism about the U.S. economy, up three percentage points from 57% to a record 60% this quarter for the Index. Overall, this metric has nearly doubled since the survey began (33% in Q2 2017).
- 65% of small businesses report good business health, down four points from 69% last quarter.