So Much For "Confidence" - NFIB Small Business Outlook Drops To Record Low

Tyler Durden's picture

While Europe's confidence-inspired rally is floating all global boats in some magical unicorn-inspired way, the reality is that on the ground in the US, things have never looked worse. The NFIB Small Business Outlook for general business conditions had its own 'cliff' this month and plunged to -35% - its worst level on record - as the creators-of-jobs seem a little less than inspired. Aside from this unbelievably ugly bottom-up situation, top-down is starting to be worrisome also. In a rather shockingly accurate analog, this year's macro surprise positivity has tracked last year's almost perfectly (which means the macro data and analyst expectations have interacted in an almost identical manner for six months). The concerning aspect is that this marked the topping process in last year's macro data as expectations of continued recovery were dashed in a sea of reality (both coinciding with large 'surprise' beats of NFP). We suspect, given the NFIB data, that jobs will not be quite so plentiful (unadjusted for BLS purposes) the next time we get a glimpse.


NFIB Small Business Outlook for General Business Conditions 'crashed'...


And the US Macro Surprise Index (which tracks both macro performance absolutely and relative to expectations) has tracked last year's rise almost tick-for-tick. This stunningly close analog suggests we have reached a peak in this macro cycle...


Charts: Bloomberg

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GetZeeGold's picture



It's hard to be hopeful when you've got thousands of little red dots dancing all over your chest.

JPM Hater001's picture

They are just trying to figure the best place to attach your nobel peace prize.

Everyones getting one didnt you hear?

madcows's picture

I thought those were ladybugs.

Boilermaker's picture

ES must be tanking!!!!

Wait...let me check....


Boilermaker's picture
  • BREAKING NEWS:  Yea, they're going to ramrod the market higher anyway.

I're stunned.

smlbizman's picture

more breaking news.......watching cramer this morning....he has elevated his game to the top 1% of  pathetic fucking assholes on this planet....

Dr. Engali's picture

My hats'off to you for being able to stomach him...I can't listen to that loud mouth for more than a few seconds.  If I were a Gitmo prisoner  the sound of his voive would be my waterboarding.

kridkrid's picture

The database thanks you! Carry on.

youngman's picture

Lets see..more taxes..regulations..fees..penalties...fines...lawyers...whatever..yes I would be happy an padded white room.....

GetZeeGold's picture



Looks like we're gonna have to raise the price of slurpees at 711......again.


Get them while you can cause next year it's gonna require an I.D.......unless you're an illegal alien.

technicalanarchy's picture

Yes that's it youngman! And it's not just the feds, it's all over the local, state and federal level. It's not Just the federal government driving the nail in the small business coffin it's everyone.

Plus the banks aren't loaning to anyone with a small business for any reason with any amount of collateral. (Around my town anyway)

Most construction jobs around here are insurance work or government contracts.

and this article from yesterday applies to more than just finance. It's on a much wider scale.

It's also my belief that raising the taxes on the 1% won't actually hurt the big money big business guys at all. Probably loop holes a mile wide they can take advantage of. But the people with small busnesses will get a little more crushed from it cause they won't get the holes or won't have the money to hire a lawyer to find them.

I heard yesterday that Peter Schiff said he is paying around 47% (+-) federal and state income taxes. Buffett claims to be paying what 17%

I've been watching the Money Masters documentary on youtube (TM) and the game is sooooo rigged and getting worse. Use to be by the year, then the month then week then day now by the hour.

Blah I'll quit rattling.

infinity8's picture

I have a friend, smart guy, retired Air Force with a pretty high security clearance. Played poker professionally for @7 yrs after he retired. (he's pushing 70 now) Got sick of the game and thought he had a good idea for a retail business. He had never been in that world before and was quite the "optimist" in general.. after doing his homework looking into getting everything going, his head almost exploded. He just couldn't believe how many flaming hoops he had to deal with to get something going. He's back in Vegas.

LetThemEatRand's picture

So all of the millions of small business owners in the world (like me) must be fucking acrobats, given that we managed to jump through all of those flaming hoops without much difficulty.    In my experience, the most irritating regulations are on the local level, which completely flies in the face of those who think decentralized government would somehow change everything for the better.  It would be great to minimize the rules/regulations, but anyone who claims that the root problem is those rules is probably just an ideologue that has never owend a small business.

infinity8's picture

Not trying to have an argument, those are just the facts. He's got plenty of money and was bored and thought he would try something new. Reality slapped him in the face and instead of starting a small business that would have created a few jobs and given him something new to do, he ended up saying "fuck it", it's not worth the trouble.

LetThemEatRand's picture

Yes, it's too many regulations and taxes (after decades of tax cuts, the elimination of which has been universally deemed by MSM the cause for great panic).  The fact that most of the goods that were made here 40 years ago are now manufactured in countries with virtual slave labor has little or nothing to do with the fact that the middle class is shrinking and not buying stuff.

mayhem_korner's picture



The implicit premise of the phrase "tax cuts" is that the government has the right to some share of people's labor, and that anything less than that share is therefore a "cut."  Let's be clear..."eliminating tax cuts" means raising taxes and nothing less. 

The thing libs cannot overcome is the notion that the government, and not the labor of private citizens, is not just a source, but THE source.  All of the irrational, twisted logic flows from that.

LetThemEatRand's picture

Because the govenrment has never created anything, right?  Those bridges, roads, airports, the GPS you use, the police, firemen, and all of those other things would magically exist and be funded without taxes.    But just keep singing your song that taxes are theft -- it is so very productive.

mayhem_korner's picture



Did government create the tax base that enables the funding?  Take your time...

Apparently, you are not smart enough to understand what is meant by "source."  Let me rephrase the issue to make it easier - did the government precede the settlers?  Did the government give rise to the people (with the condition that they pay homage to their creator, the almighty and pre-existent government)? 

As the saying goes - you can't fix stupid. 

De minimus's picture

Small business man my ass. You're a lying sack of shit Marxist.

Who's paying you to be here pinky? Or are you just one of those dedicated freelancers with a anus for a mouth? Do you people really think this kind of crap works with people who can actually see what happening to themselves and their businesses, their way of life?

I think you were looking for the dummies over at comedy central. I'm sure they'll be very enraptured because you won't make their little brains hurt.

technicalanarchy's picture

Should't there be a ? "The fact that most of the goods that were made here 40 years ago are now manufactured in countries with virtual slave labor has little or nothing to do with the fact that the middle class is shrinking and not buying stuff?

I'm sorry I can't see your point on that at all unless you add a ? If we aren't making stuff someone is, where is the money for the middle class suppose to be coming from?

Several articles in the local news lately touting $8.50 to $10.00 an hour jobs, part time, seasonal as the cream of the job market and the news outlets and the company owners and or managers are SHOCKED that people aren't flocking all over the jobs. I mean seriously, unless you just have a work ethic why would you fuck up your unemployment over that? Shift work and whacky ass schedules and for minimum wage (damn near it). If I remember correctly there was a time in the past when minimum wage was for high school kids not fucking grownups with kids.

VW opened a plant near by and they are paying around $14.00 an hour. Great money I suppose. They actually said they want former fast food workers because they can train them better and easier than former auto workers. Bullshit it's because a monkey could actually do the job and the former fast food workers will believe $14 an hour is a fortune to be had and not a 66% cut in pay. I'm not for or against the UAW just saying low is the new high.

Slave labor is only one piece of the low cost puzzle, lax environmental laws as well as insurance requirements are other parts that are rarely if ever mentioned in the low cost puzzle. Plus I believe with China the fact that many american factories are outdated and many of the Chinese factories are fairly new has something to do with it as well.

I have my own small business (very small) and I'll be damned if it matters how much I make there is always someone or something there to make sure that starting the next month I start at 0 again. I'm sure the list of what I'm doing wrong would fill up the Internet, but my business works for other small businesses and they are about in the same shape as I am. One of my customers use to carry about 4 or 5 thousand in $100's on her all the time, now she's down to carrying about $30 mostly in $1's and $5's (still a roll if you just glance at it) but she's still in business and hasn't lost anything, but damn it's barely.

another customer has a warehouse he was rentling out and had a 5 year lease where his tenent was paying $6.00 psf per year, lease came due for renewal this year and the tenent moved cause they found a 5 year lease on a bettter warehouse for under $2.50 PSF. So you might think that the company netted out great and saved SOME CASH! I'd say not cause it's going to just get switched to paying for the employees insurance. 

All that to really say I don't think there are many wins left for the little guy and there will be less wins next year.

As of currently there aren't that many regulations on my business (computers and networking) but that's about to change I'm sure of it. My dad had a construction company he started in 1976, he passed away in 1998 and it was a different world and now it's even worse. Taxes, insurance, permits, fees and insurance.

disabledvet's picture

The "fix is in" in the Middle East. The irony that the first general war over there since 1973 will "come as a surprise" should scare people actually. "In England their Kings and Queens were German"...and in America...

kridkrid's picture

Go on...

Could you spell out what you are saying, I'm not following your shorthand, though it looks interesting.

Mike in GA's picture

Yeah, he kinda left me hangin' there, too.  I was hopin' I'd maybe just missed the comprehensive solution to the Middle East problems.

kridkrid's picture

He was saying "the fix is in" as in war in the middle east is set to go. And I agree. I agree too that "it will come as a surprise"... Just like pearl harbor came as a surprise to everyone other than those who had been driving Japan towards that end game for years. It was the German kings and America stuff I didn't follow.

Xue's picture

It's ok, we get our new QE fix tomorrow...

Cursive's picture

Need moar hopium!  Moar obamaphones!  Moar SNAP!  Moar SS disability!  Moar federal, state and local govt spending!  Moar debt!

ArkansasAngie's picture

Reality is there are no free markets.
Up down sideways it's all by plan
Hope they anticipated my boot up there arses

Coldsun's picture

But increasing the taxes on all of the small business owners and making them buy insurance for employees over 30 hours will help them. That's what I've been told so it must be true.

3ringmike's picture

Looks like a 29 hour work week will be the new normal also

firstdivision's picture

Clearly this is a Buy FB signal!

PUD's picture

Lloyd Blankfein bought a 30 million $ getaway home.....clearly confidence is very high in the Hamptons.

JPM Hater001's picture

He has another 30 million dollar getaway home but it's in the Adirondacks and goes 240 feet underground.

mrktwtch2's picture

look we all know things suck out there..but its been 4 yrs much longer??.. maybe the 2nd quarter of 14 do we finally get the economy growing again??

SheepleLOVEcheddarbaybiscuits's picture

clearly you are not familiar with long term debt cycles......

pods's picture

I think we will see the Visigoths before we see organic growth.


Mike in GA's picture

Yes, 2114, though.  Just after the greatest depression wrings out all the excesses.  And people.

LawsofPhysics's picture

No.  Japan has been here for 30+ years and this is the "model" we are following.  That being said, America does have considerably more natural resources and could make a comeback, but that would require an increase in the flux of energy through the system.  The earth's energy output has flatlined.  This doesn't even consider the energy required to input in order to discover, develop, and deliver new energy flows.  Not good, especially for a world built on centrally planned fractional reserve banking.  The latter collapses in the absence of growth.  You tell me, would you bet on infinite growth in a finite world?

Clear the bad debt, prosecute the fucking fraud, let the bad businesses (no matter how big) fail and this will all fix itself much faster in the end.  But that would require an honest conversation by those who are in power and committed the fraud in the first place.    No, if history is any guide here, another world war will be the outcome of all this.  Hedge accordingly.

Dr. Engali's picture

Who gives a shit about small businesses anyway? Just so long as  the large corporations are happy that's all that matters. The politicians know where their bread is buttered.

JPM Hater001's picture

In fact my buying experience would be complete if I just had one store to walk into and get everything.

Like the store in Idiocracy.

Urban Redneck's picture

Stepping away from the BLS BS, in the 2010 census there were about 111 million private sector jobs in the US, almost 3 years later there are still only about 111 million private sector jobs in the US, meanwhile the US government has spent 3 trillion in "investment" and increased the public debt stock by 1/3, and achieved NOTHING.  Go figure why business owners aren't optimistic... and it's not eve 1/1/13 when the new taxes and regulations start kicking in...

PUD's picture


Harbanger's picture

Some exports are up, The US approved 20 F-16 fighter planes today for Egypt as part of a $1 billion foreign aid package.

ZFiNX's picture

I'm sure the DOW will end positive today, no one believes any of the numbers anymore, but they understand the consequences of more money versus less money. That's why fiscal cliff news gets market reactions. I wonder why the market would believe political agreements are anymore honest than the NBS numbers, though.

Debtless's picture

Gotta convince everyone deeply that the cliff is a really big deal for small businesses. 

- Goebbles

overmedicatedundersexed's picture

this is all gonna come out right if we just keep doing the fixes they will work, that is all. sarc