The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index grew to 105.2, its highest reading since February. July’s index was 1.6 points above June’s 103.6 reading. Seven of the ten index components rose, while two declined.
Reported job creation jumped 6 points, as 60% of businesses reported hiring or trying to hire. However, 52% reported few or no qualified applicants for the positions they were trying to fill. Nineteen percent of employers surveyed cited the difficulty of finding qualified workers as their top business problem. A seasonally adjusted net 19% of owners plan to create new jobs, up four points from the previous month.
Seasonally adjusted, the net percent of owners expecting better business conditions grew four points to a net 37%. The percent of owners reporting higher sales in the past three months compared to the prior three months was zero, a 4-point improvement from June’s reading. Seasonally adjusted, the net percent of owners expecting higher real sales volumes grew five points to a net 22% of owners. Capital spending was unchanged as 57% of owners reported capital outlays. The percent of owners planning capital outlays in the next 3 to 6 months decreased two points to 28%. June’s 30% reading was the highest since September 2007.
Credit conditions remained historically low, as 3% of owners reported that all their borrowing needs were not met, one point lower than June. Only 2% of business owners surveyed reported that financing was their top business problem, compared to 21% citing taxes.
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