Tuesday, October 09, 2018

Small Business Optimism Index decreased slightly in September

by Bill McBride on 10/09/2018 08:25:00 AM

CR Note: Most of this survey is ideological noise, but there is some information, especially on the labor market and the "Single Most Important Problem".

From the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB): September 2018 Report: Small Business Optimism Index

The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index continued its historic 23-month positive trend, with a reading of 107.9 in September, the third highest reading in the survey’s 45-year history.
..
A record net 37 percent of owners reported raising overall compensation, as reported in last week’s NFIB monthly jobs report. This surpasses the previous record of a net 35 percent in May 2018. Twenty-four percent plan to increase total compensation at their firm and six percent plan reductions. Sixty-one percent of owners reported hiring or trying to hire, with 87 percent of those reporting few or no qualified workers. Thirty-eight percent of owners reported job openings they could not fill in the current period, unchanged from last month.

Twenty-two percent of owners cited the difficulty of finding qualified workers as their Single Most Important Business Problem, down 3 points but historically very high.
emphasis added
Small Business Optimism Index Click on graph for larger image.

This graph shows the small business optimism index since 1986.

The index decreased to 107.9 in September.

Note: Usually small business owners complain about taxes and regulations (currently 2nd and 3rd on the "Single Most Important Problem" list).  However, during the recession, "poor sales" was the top problem. Now the difficulty of finding qualified workers is the top problem.