The numbers: Small-business owners turned more pessimistic in December than they have been at any time since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic after a record new stage of the viral outbreak and Democratic electoral victories that promise a potentially dramatic shift in economic policy in Washington.
The closely followed optimism index compiled by the National Federation of Independent Business fell by 5.5 points to 95.9 last month, marking its lowest level since last May.
“This month’s drop in small-business optimism is historically very large, and most of the decline was due to the outlook of sales and business conditions in 2021,” said NFIB chief economist Bill Dunkelberg.
Just two months ago, the index topped 104 as it returned near a pre-crisis high.
More firms also downgraded their sales forecasts for the next three months.
The NFIB is the nation’s largest small-business lobbying group.
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