Small business owner confidence firmed last month, according to a new report from the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB). Specifically, the headline optimism index lifted to 104.8 in April, a smaller rebound than expected but still one of the highest readings on record. Under the hood, three of the ten main components that make up the sentiment gauge deteriorated last month, and four components improved, with optimism about sales offsetting concerns about the broader business environment.
As for small business employment conditions, hiring cooled in April following several months of above-trend growth. Plans to boost worker compensation, though, jumped last month, helped by the 50 percent of surveyed owners that complained about there being few or no qualified applicants for job openings. Moreover, quality of labor was once again the top-cited problem facing surveyed owners, while concerns about taxes and government regulation continued to abate. The report’s authors added that “The main impediment to [GDP] growth will be the short supply of labor, which plagues all industries but especially manufacturing and housing.”
Sources: NFIBPost author: Charles Couch