Small Business Optimism Index Remains Elevated in October

The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index fell to 107.4, 0.5 point below September’s reading. This is just below the highest reading in index history. Thirty percent of business owners surveyed said the next three months was a good time to expand, three points lower than last month’s reading.

Reported job creation increased three points, as 60 percent of businesses reported hiring or trying to hire. However, 53 percent reported few or no qualified applicants for the positions they were trying to fill. Twenty-three percent of employers surveyed cited the difficulty of finding qualified workers as their top business problem. A seasonally adjusted net 22 percent of owners plan to create new jobs, down one point from last month.

Seasonally adjusted, the net percent of owners expecting better business conditions was unchanged at 33 percent. The percent of owners reporting higher sales in the past three months compared to the prior three months was a net 8 percent, unchanged from September. Seasonally adjusted, the net percent of owners expecting higher real sales volumes fell one point to 28 percent of owners. Capital spending decreased one point as 59 percent of owners reported capital outlays. The percent of owners planning capital outlays in the next 3 to 6 months was unchanged at 30 percent.

Credit concerns remained historically low, as just 3 percent of owners reported that all their borrowing needs were not met, unchanged from September. Only 2 percent of business owners surveyed reported that financing was their top business problem, while 16 percent of survey participants listed taxes as their top business problem.

Read the NFIB report.