Economy, Small Business

Economic Data Roundup (12/13/2016)

12/13/16 12:00 PM

iStock_000009946822_Small.jpgThe National Federation of Independent Business’s (NFIB’s) small business optimism index jumped to 98.4 in November, the best month-over-month gain in more than half a decade and the highest reading since December 2014. Eight of the ten main components that make up the headline sentiment index improved last month, with the largest gains seen in owners’ expectations for both sales growth and the overall economy. Respondents’ capital expenditure plans were the only major drag on the headline index in November. As for small business employment conditions, net hiring was actually negative last month but total job openings rose to a new recovery high and job creation plans lifted to the best level in a year. A record 52 percent of respondents last month complained that there were “few or no” qualified applicants for vacant positions. However, that is not surprising since fewer surveyed owners reported raising wages in November, and plans to boost compensation over the next three months also fell. Moreover, the top two problems facing surveyed small business owners were once again taxes and government regulation but “quality of labor” continued to be a growing challenge. More owners were also worried about poor sales in November, which is worth monitoring going forward because such concerns often lead unemployment. Much of the broad improvement seen in the November sentiment survey was due to the results of the Presidential election, and Bill Dunkelberg, NFIB’s chief economist, added that “Owners clearly expect a different, and better from their perspective, set of economic policies to help the economy shed the growing number of obstacles of the last eight years in tax and regulatory policies that have depressed growth. … The prospective impact of expected policy changes was translated into very positive views of economic activity which will translate into more spending and hiring if maintained.”

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Sources: NFIB

Post author: Charles Couch