The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index fell to 104.8, 2.6 points below October’s reading. Twenty-nine 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 was unchanged, 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-five 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, unchanged from last month.
Seasonally adjusted, the net percent of owners expecting better business conditions declined eleven points to 22 percent. The percent of owners reporting higher sales in the past three months compared to the prior three months was a net 9 percent, up one point from October. Seasonally adjusted, the net percent of owners expecting higher real sales volumes fell four points to 24 percent of owners. Capital spending increased two points as 61 percent of owners reported capital outlays. The percent of owners planning capital outlays in the next 3 to 6 months declined one point to 29 percent.
Credit concerns remained historically low, as just 3 percent of owners reported that all their borrowing needs were not met, unchanged from October. Only 2 percent of business owners surveyed reported that financing was their top business problem, while 19 percent of survey participants listed taxes as their top business problem.
Read the NFIB report.