Small Business Optimism Edged up in July

The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index increased 0.1 points in July, rising to 94.6. Four of the ten index components posted gains, while four declined.

Labor market conditions weakened during the month, as 53 percent of small business owners reported hiring or trying to hire, down 3 points from June. Forty-six percent of workers reported few or no qualified workers (down 2 points from June). Fourteen percent of employers surveyed cited the difficulty of finding qualified workers as their top business problem. A seasonally adjusted net 12 percent of employers plan to create new jobs, up 1 point from the previous month.

The percent of owners reporting higher sales in the past three months fell 4 points to a net negative 8 percent. Twelve percent of small business owners reported weak sales as their top business problem, up 1 point from June.

Capital spending increased as 59 percent of owners reported capital outlays, up 2 points. The percent of owners planning capital outlays in the next 3 to 6 months fell 1 point to 25 percent.

Credit conditions improved as 3 percent of owners reported that all their borrowing needs were not met, up 2 points from the previous month. Only 2 percent of business owners surveyed reported that financing was their top business problem, the same as in June.

Read the NFIB report.