Small Business Optimism Slipped in August

The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index fell 0.2 points in August to 94.4. Five of the ten index components posted gains, while four declined.

Labor market conditions remained weak, as only 56% of small business owners reported hiring or trying to hire, up 3 points from July. Forty-eight percent of employers reported few or no qualified applicants for the positions they were trying to fill (up 2 points from July). Fifteen percent of employers surveyed cited the difficulty of finding qualified workers as their top business problem. A seasonally adjusted net 9% of employees plan to create new jobs, down 3 points from the previous month.

The percent of owners reporting higher sales in the past three months fell 1 point to a net negative 9%. Eleven percent of small business owners reported weak sales as their top business problem, down 1 point from July.

Capital spending slipped, as 57% of owners reported capital outlays, down 2 points. The percent of owners planning capital outlays in the next 3 to 6 months rose 3 points to 28%

Credit conditions deteriorated slightly, as 4% of owners reported that all their borrowing needs were not met, up 1 point from the previous month. Only 2% of business owners surveyed reported that financing was their top business problem, the same as in July.

Read the NFIB report.