Tuesday, August 08, 2017

NFIB: Small Business Optimism Index increased in July

by Bill McBride on 8/08/2017 08:49:00 AM

From the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB): July 2017 Report: Small Business Optimism Index

The Index of Small Business Optimism rose 1.6 points to 105.2, preserving the surge in optimism that started the day after the election. Seven of the 10 Index components posted a gain, two declined, and one was unchanged. Since the recession, the Index peaked at 105.9 in January, just 0.7 points above the July reading.
...
Small business owners reported an adjusted average employment change per firm of 0.21 workers per firm over the past few months, a solid performance. Thirteen percent (up 3 points) reported increasing employment an average of 4.5 workers per firm and 11 percent (unchanged) reported reducing employment an average of 1.6 workers per firm (seasonally adjusted). A seasonally adjusted net 19 percent plan to create new jobs, up 4 points, with higher levels not seen since December 1999.

Sixty percent reported hiring or trying to hire (up 6 points), but 52 percent (87 percent of those hiring or trying to hire) reported few or no qualified applicants for the positions they were trying to fill. Nineteen percent of owners cited the difficulty of finding qualified workers as their Single Most Important Business Problem (up 4 points), second only to taxes. This is a particularly severe problem in construction (28 percent) and manufacturing (21 percent) where labor shortages are the top problem, trumping taxes and regulatory costs. Thirty-five percent of all owners reported job openings they could not fill in the current period, up 5 points, the highest reading since November 2001.
emphasis added
Small Business Optimism Index Click on graph for larger image.

This graph shows the small business optimism index since 1986.

The index increased to 105.2 in July.