Small Business Optimism Dipped in November

Following three months of no-significant change, the NFIB Small Business Optimism fell 1.3 points to 94.8 in November. Only one of the ten index components posted a gain on the month, while six components posted losses.

Labor market conditions remained consistent during the month of November, as 55 percent of business owners reported hiring or trying to hire, while 47 percent reported few or no qualified applicants for their available positions. A seasonally adjusted net 11 percent of owners plan to create new jobs, unchanged from October.

The percent of owners reporting increased sales in the past three months increased 3 points to a net negative 5 percent. Nine percent of small business owners reported weak sales as their top business problem, down three points from October.

Capital spending picked up in November, after being unchanged for two consecutive months. Sixty-two percent of owners reported capital outlays, a 4 point increase from October. Only 25 percent of owners are planning capital outlays in the next 3 to 6 months, down 1 percent from October’s reading, as owners expect a continuation of economic “under-performance.”

Credit conditions remained satisfactory, as only 3 percent of owners reported that all their borrowing needs were not met. Fifty-two percent of respondents explicitly stated that they did not want a loan, down 1 point from October. Just 2 percent of owners cited financing as their top business problem, compared to 5 percent during the great recession.

Read the NFIB release.