11-15-19 | Economic News

Small Business Confidence Jumps

Largest Increase Since May

The proportion of small business owners reporting adding staff in November was up six points, which was the highest reading since March. The number of job openings rose four points - the highest since July and one of the highest readings of this expansion. Sixty-one percent of firms reported hiring or trying to bring on more workers during the period. But as a sign of continued challenges with hiring, 88% of firms wanting to add workers reported few or no qualified applicants for the positions they were trying to fill.

Looking to expand business and hire more workers, small business owners voiced their positivity in the economy as the latest NFIB Small Business Optimism Index added 2.3 points to post a score of 104.7, just a little below its cycle high.


Seven of the 10 components that responders rate in the monthly survey grew - the biggest winner being the earning trends component, which rose 10 points. Reports of greater sales in the last three months gained eight points to come in at its highest level since May of 2018. And the score for business owners that said that now is a good time for expansion picked up six points.

At the same time, the NFIB Uncertainty Index fell six points. Combined with the four-point drop in the prior month, that tally is now at its lowest level since May 2018. The Wells Fargo Economics Group credited the decrease to possible optimism that trade deals with China and Mexico are near.

And they added, "The improvement in small business confidence likely reflects stronger sales in recent months, as well as some drawdown in inventories (as) the strength in sales has helped curb inventories. The net share of business owners stating that inventories were "too low" rose five percentage points."

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