Small Business Optimism Index Reaches Record High in August

The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index rose to 108.8, 0.9 point above July’s reading. This is the highest reading in index history. Thirty-four percent of business owners surveyed said the next three months was a good time to expand, two points higher than last month’s reading.

Reported job creation increased three points, as 62 percent of businesses reported hiring or trying to hire. However, 52 percent reported few or no qualified applicants for the positions they were trying to fill. Twenty-five percent of employers surveyed cited the difficulty of finding qualified workers as their top business problem, a survey record. A seasonally adjusted net 26 percent of owners plan to create new jobs, up three points from last month.

Seasonally adjusted, the net percent of owners expecting better business conditions decreased one point to 34 percent. The percent of owners reporting higher sales in the past three months compared to the prior three months was a net 10 percent, up two points from July. Seasonally adjusted, the net percent of owners expecting higher real sales volumes fell three points to 26 percent of owners. Capital spending decreased three points as 56 percent of owners reported capital outlays. The percent of owners planning capital outlays in the next 3 to 6 months rose three points to 33 percent.

Credit concerns remained historically low, as just 3 percent of owners reported that all their borrowing needs were not met, unchanged from July. Only 2 percent of business owners surveyed reported that financing was their top business problem, while 15 percent of survey participants listed taxes as their top business problem.

Read the NFIB report.