NFIB News Release (03/11/15)
The National Federation of Independent Business’ Small Business Optimism Index increased to 98.0 in February, a slight gain from 97.9 in January. While the reading was below analysts’ forecasts, it is the third-highest since early 2007, behind only November and December 2014. Among the 10 components comprising the index, owners reporting hard-to-fill job openings gained the most, adding three points to a nine-year high of 29%, with 14% citing the availability of qualified labor as their top business problem. Meanwhile, the number of businesses planning to create new jobs fell two points to 12%, inventory investment plans rose two points to 4%, and capital spending plans were flat at 26%.
“In spite of slow economic activity and awful weather in a lot of the country, small-business owners are finding reasons to hire and spend, which is great news,” says Bill Dunkelberg, NFIB chief economist.