Small Business Optimism Index Remained Strong in April

The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index grew to 104.8, 0.1 point above March’s reading. Four of the ten index components rose in April, while three declined. Twenty-seven percent of business owners surveyed said the next three months was a good time to expand, one point lower than last month’s reading.

Reported job creation grew four points, as 57% of businesses reported hiring or trying to hire. However, 50% reported few or no qualified applicants for the positions they were trying to fill. Twenty-two percent of employers surveyed cited the difficulty of finding qualified workers as their top business problem. A seasonally adjusted net 16% of owners plan to create new jobs, down four points from last month but historically strong.

Seasonally adjusted, the net percent of owners expecting better business conditions decreased two points to 30%. The percent of owners reporting higher sales in the past three months compared to the prior three months was a net 8%, unchanged from March. Seasonally adjusted, the net percent of owners expecting higher real sales volumes rose one point to 21% of owners. Capital spending increased three points as 61% of owners reported capital outlays. The percent of owners planning capital outlays in the next 3 to 6 months improved three points to 29%.

Credit concerns remained historically low, as just 4% of owners reported that all their borrowing needs were not met, unchanged from March. Only 2% of business owners surveyed reported that financing was their top business problem, while 18% of survey participants listed taxes as their top business problem.

Read the NFIB report.