Small Business Optimism Improved in April

The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index increased 1.0 point in April, rising to 93.6. Five of the ten components posted gains on the month, while only one posted a decline.

Labor market conditions improved in April, as 53% of small business reported hiring or trying to hire, up from 48% in March. Forty-six percent of employers reported few or no qualified applicants for available positions, up 5 points from the previous month. A seasonally adjusted net 11% of employers plan to create new jobs, up 2 points from March.

The percent of owners reporting higher sales in the past three months rose 2 points to a net negative 6%. Eleven percent of small business owners cited weak sales as their top business problem, down 2 points from the previous month.

Capital spending picked up slightly, with 60% of businesses reporting capital outlays, up 1 point on the month. The percent of owners planning capital outlays in the next 3 to 6 months remained unchanged at 25%.

Credit conditions improved slightly, as 4% of owners reported that all their borrowing needs were not met, down 1 point from March. Fifty-two percent of respondents explicitly said they did not want a loan, down 1 point on the month. Two percent of owners cited financing as their top business problem, unchanged on the month.

Read the NFIB release.