Small business owner confidence continued to improve last month, according to a new report from the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB). Specifically, the headline sentiment index ended November at 107.5, the largest monthly increase since December 2016 and the 2nd-highest reading in the 44-year history of this survey. Under the hood, eight of the ten main components that make up the optimism gauge improved last month, including sharp gains in surveyed owners’ expectations for sales growth and the overall economy.
Small business labor conditions also strengthened in November, as reported hiring plans over the next three months jumped to a record high. At the same time, only 44 percent of surveyed owners complained about there being few or no qualified applicants for job vacancies, the lowest reading since February. However, quality of labor remained one of the most important problems cited by small business owners in the November survey, surpassed only by taxes. NFIB chief economist William C. Dunkelberg added that “There is still much uncertainty about health care and taxes, but it appears that owners believe that whatever Congress finally comes up with will be an improvement and so they remain positive.”
Sources: NFIBPost author: Charles Couch