The January NFIB Small Business Optimism report was released today, February 10, 2015. The headline of the Small Business Economic Trends report is “NFIB: Small Business Optimism Falls, But Still In Normal Zone.”
The Index of Small Business Optimism decreased 2.5 points in January to 97.9.
Here are some excerpts from that I find particularly notable (but don’t necessarily agree with) :
The Small Business Optimism Index fell 2.5 points to 97.9, giving back the December gain that took the Index over 100. Still, the Index indicates that the small business sector is operating in a somewhat “normal” zone. Seven components fell, one was unchanged and 2 rose a bit. Most of the decline was accounted for by expected business conditions (43 percent of the decline), expected real sales (14 percent) and earnings (14 percent). The good news was the increase in the percent of owners reporting hard to fill openings and the drop of only 1 point in the net percent of owners planning job creation from December’s very good number.
The percent of owners reporting job creation fell 4 percentage points to a net 5 percent of owners, still a solid number. Thirteen percent report increasing employment an average of 3.1 workers while 8 percent reduced their workforce by an average of 3.2 workers. Forty-eight percent reported hiring or trying to hire (down 6 points), but 42 percent reported few or no qualified applicants for the positions they were trying to fill. Fourteen percent reported using temporary workers, unchanged. Twenty-six percent of all owners reported job openings they could not fill in the current period, up 1 point and a very solid reading. The net percent of owners planning to create new jobs gave up 1 point from December’s excellent reading, providing evidence that the December number was not a fluke. A net 14 percent planning to create new jobs is a strong reading.
Here is a chart of the NFIB Small Business Optimism chart, as seen in the February 10 Doug Short post titled “Small Business Optimism: Index Relinquishes Some of Its December Advance“ :
Further details regarding small business conditions can be seen in the full January 2015 NFIB Small Business Economic Trends (pdf) report.
The Special Note summarizes my overall thoughts about our economic situation
SPX at 2068.59 as this post is written