NFIB Small Business Optimism – May 2018

The May NFIB Small Business Optimism report was released today, June 12, 2018. The headline of the Economic Trends report is “Small Business Optimism Soars, Continuing Historic Run, Hitting Several Records in May.”

The Index of Small Business Optimism increased in May by 3 points to 107.8.

Here are some excerpts that I find particularly notable (but don’t necessarily agree with):

The Small Business Optimism Index increased in May to the second highest level in the NFIB survey’s 45-year history. The index rose to 107.8, a three-point gain, with small businesses reporting high numbers in several key areas including compensation, profits, and sales trends.


The May report hit several records:

• Compensation increases hit a 45-year high at a record net 35 percent.
• Positive earnings trends reached a survey high at a net three percent.
• Positive sales trends are at the highest level since 1995.
• Expansion plans are the most robust in survey history.


Access to credit continues as a non-issue with 37 percent of owners reporting all credit needs were satisfied and 43 percent saying they were not interested in a loan, down seven points from last month and the lowest reading since 2007. Only one percent reported that financing was their top business problem. Owners planning to build inventories rose three points to a net four percent, the nineteenth positive reading in the past 20 months.

As reported in NFIB’s May jobs report, 23 percent of owners cited the difficulty of finding qualified workers as their Single Most Important Business Problem, followed by taxes at 17 percent and regulations at 13 percent. Fifty-eight percent reported hiring or trying to hire, up one point from last month but 83 percent of those reported few or no qualified workers.

Here is a chart of the NFIB Small Business Optimism chart, as seen in the June 12 Doug Short post titled “NFIB Small Business Survey:  ‘Small Business Optimism Soars…’“:

NFIB Small Business Optimism

Further details regarding small business conditions can be seen in the full May 2018 NFIB Small Business Economic Trends (pdf) report.


The Special Note summarizes my overall thoughts about our economic situation

SPX at 2782.60 as this post is written