NFIB: Julys Small Business Optimism Hits 35-Year High

Businesses set records in Job Creation & Hiring while Increasing Compensation width=117Texas Insider Report: WASHINGTON D.C.  Small business owners are leading this economy and expressing optimism rivaling the highest levels in history. Expansion continues to be a priority for small businesses who show no signs of slowing as they anticipate more sales and better business conditions" said National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) President & CEO Juanita Duggan (right.) Small business owners optimism touched a 35-year high in July said NFIB with businesses setting records in terms of job creation and hiring while citing the availability of qualified workers as their biggest challenge. Reports of compensation increases remained strong and in another signal of just how strong this economy is small business owners also said they were able to increase prices. Profits continued to perform and as a result more firms raised prices in July a positive signal of demand. In July 2018 the NFIBs Small Business Optimism Index marked its 2nd Highest Level in the surveys 45-year history at 107.9 just shy of the July 1983 record-high of 108.
  • Records were set for job creation plans  A seasonally-adjusted net 23 of businesses are planning to create new jobs.
  • 37 of business owners said they had job openings that they could not fill in July.
  • 35 of owners expect better business conditions while saying the availability of qualified workers was their No. 1 problem.
  • 59 of firms were hiring or trying to hire.
  • 52 reported few or no qualified applicants for the positions they were trying to fill.
  • 23 of owners said their biggest business problem was finding qualified workers.
width=192Despite challenges in finding qualified workers to fill a record number of job openings theyre taking advantage of this economy and pursuing growth" said NFIB chief economist Bill Dunkelberg. Additional July highlights include:
  • The percent of owners citing the availability of qualified workers as their number one business problem landed one point below the record high.
  • Capital spending maintained a respectable pace but did not display the exuberance of its fellow indicators although spending plans did post a gain.
  • Plans to add to inventory holdings were strong as strong sales continue to deplete stocks.
  • Profits continued to perform and more firms raised prices something that is easier when demand is strong.
July is the 8th consecutive month of strong reported sales gains. Reports of sales increases were most frequent in manufacturing and the wholesale trades. Small business owners are already seeing their bottom lines grow due to strong sales and regulatory relief and the new tax law is expected to push profits higher as the year progresses" said NFIB Economist Dunkelberg.
  • The frequency of reports of positive profit trends hit a record high in May maintaining one of the best readings in the surveys 45 year history.
  • Additionally reports of positive sales trends have been historically strong for the past few months so owners have had to satisfy the strong sales demand by selling out of inventories.
  • This produced an increase in the percent of owners planning to invest in new inventory stocks in the coming months.
width=408The net percent of owners viewing current inventory stocks as too low" also increased  a very positive move. This confirms that the inventory reductions reported were indeed a result of strong sales not a result of a less certain future. NFIBs June jobs report showed that 63 of owners reported hiring or trying to hire up five points from the previous month representing the highest level since September 1999. The NFIB Research Center has collected Small Business Economic Trends Data with quarterly surveys since the 4th quarter of 1973 and has undertaken monthly surveys since 1986. Survey respondents are drawn from NFIBs membership. The report is released on the second Tuesday of each month.
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