The trend shown by that index predicted our economic problems. So I’m mad at myself for not looking at it before.
Below is a graph of the index since 1999 (it is set at 1986 = 100). It shows that, in 2007, before we knew we were in a recession, small business optimism had fallen below its level during the recession of 2001.
Small business people had a feeling that things were turning bad before the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) figured out we were in a recession.
I think I’ll focus more on the opinions of small business people, and less on the NBER’s economists to tell me where things are going in the future.