Tuesday, April 10, 2012

NFIB: Small Business Optimism Index declined in March

by Bill McBride on 4/10/2012 08:39:00 AM

From the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB): After Six Months of Increases, Small-Business Optimism Drops For Main Street, No New Jobs in the Months to Come

After six months of gains, the Small-Business Optimism Index fell by almost 2 points in March, settling at 92.5. After a promising start to the year, nine of ten index components dropped last month, most notably hiring plans and expected real sales growth each taking a significant dive, in spite of owners reporting the largest increase in new jobs per firm in a year.
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Job creation in March was the bright spot in this month’s Index; the net change in employment per firm seasonally adjusted was 0.22, far above January’s “0” reading.
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A lack of sales remains a problem for owners with 22 percent reporting “poor sales” as their top business problem.
Note: Small businesses have a larger percentage of real estate and retail related companies than the overall economy.

Small Business Optimism Index Click on graph for larger image.

This graph shows the small business optimism index since 1986. The index declined to 92.5 in March from 94.3 in February. This is slightly above the 91.9 reported in March 2011.

This index remains low - probably due to a combination of sluggish growth, and the high concentration of real estate related companies in the index. And the single most important problem remains "poor sales".

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