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Small-Business Optimism Falls, but Still in Normal Zone

NFIB News Release (02/10/15)

The NFIB Small Business Optimism Survey for January slipped 2.5 points to 97.9 with seven components dropping. Still, the index shows the small-business sector is operating within normal parameters.

“November and December readings were very strong, possibly from post-election euphoria,” says Bill Dunkelberg, NFIB chief economist. “January’s decline was mostly due to owners being less optimistic about business conditions, not spending and hiring plans…The increase in the percent of owners reporting hard-to-fill job openings is very good news.”

The percent of owners reporting job creation fell four percentage points to a net 5% of owners, still a solid number. Thirteen percent reported increasing employment, an average of 3.1 workers, while 8% reduced their workforce, by an average of 3.2 workers. Forty-eight percent reported hiring or trying to hire (down six points), but 42% reported few or no qualified applicants for the positions they were trying to fill. Fourteen percent reported using temporary workers, which was unchanged. Twenty-six percent of all owners reported job openings they could not fill in the current period, up one point and a very solid reading.