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Small Business Optimism Index increased slightly in February

Summary:
CR Note: Most of this survey is noise, but there is some information, especially on the labor market and the "Single Most Important Problem".From the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB): February 2019 Report: Small Business Optimism IndexThe NFIB Small Business Optimism Index improved modestly in February, increasing 0.5 points to 101.7. Views about future business conditions and the current period as a good time to expand improved as did plans to make capital outlays. Earnings trends weakened, as a million laid off workers and others affected by the shutdown cut back on spending...Job creation broke the 45-year record in February with a net addition of 0.52 workers per firm (including those making no change in employment), up from 0.25 in December, and 0.33 in January.

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CR Note: Most of this survey is noise, but there is some information, especially on the labor market and the "Single Most Important Problem".

From the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB): February 2019 Report: Small Business Optimism Index
The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index improved modestly in February, increasing 0.5 points to 101.7. Views about future business conditions and the current period as a good time to expand improved as did plans to make capital outlays. Earnings trends weakened, as a million laid off workers and others affected by the shutdown cut back on spending.
..
Job creation broke the 45-year record in February with a net addition of 0.52 workers per firm (including those making no change in employment), up from 0.25 in December, and 0.33 in January. The previous record was 0.51 reached in May 1998.

Twenty-two percent of owners cited the difficulty of finding qualified workers as their Single Most Important Business Problem, only 3 points below the record high. Thirtyseven percent of all owners reported job openings they could not fill in the current period, up 2 points from January and 2 points below the record high. br /> emphasis added
Small Business Optimism Index increased slightly in February Click on graph for larger image.

This graph shows the small business optimism index since 1986.

The index increased to 101.7 in February.

Note: Usually small business owners complain about taxes and regulations (currently 2nd and 3rd on the "Single Most Important Problem" list).  However, during the recession, "poor sales" was the top problem. Now the difficulty of finding qualified workers is the top problem.
Bill McBride
A full time blogger, Mr. McBride retired as a senior executive from a small public company in the '90s. Mr. McBride holds an MBA from the University of California, Irvine, and has a background in management, finance and economics.

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