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Economic Data (USA)

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

NFIB Small Business Optimism Index for June 2017

The National Federation of Independent Business® (NFIB®) released its Small Business Optimism Index for June 2017:


Predicted: 104.5
Actual: 103.6

  • Change from Previous Month: -0.8612%.
  • Change from 12 Months Previous: +9.6296%


NFIB Small Business Optimism Index - June 2017
NFIB Small Business Optimism Index - June 2017

From today's report:


The Index of Small Business Optimism fell 0.9 points to 103.6, but
sustained the surge in optimism that started the day after the election. The Index peaked at 105.9 in January and has dropped 2.3 points to date, no doubt in part due to the mess in Washington, D.C. Four of the 10 Index components posted a gain, five declined, and one was unchanged.
Progress is being made, but poorly communicated, and the biggest issues, healthcare and tax reform remain stuck in the bowels of Washington politics. Economic growth in the first half of this year will be about the same as we have experienced for the past three or four years, no real progress. There isn’t much euphoria in the outlook for the second half of the year.


Small business owners reported an adjusted average employment change per firm of negative 0.04 workers per firm over the past few months, basically zero. This followed one of the best readings since 2008 posted in May. Ten percent (down 5 points) reported increasing employment an average of 3.4 workers per firm and 11 percent (up 2 points) reported reducing employment an average of 2.1 workers per firm (seasonally adjusted). Fifty-four percent reported hiring or trying to hire (down 5 points), but 46 percent reported few or no qualified applicants for the positions they were trying to fill. Fifteen percent of owners cited the difficulty of finding qualified workers as their Single Most Important Business Problem (down 4 points), third on the list of important problems behind taxes and regulatory costs. Thirty percent of all owners reported job openings they could not fill in the current period, down 4 points, but historically very high. A seasonally adjusted net 15 percent plan to create new jobs, down 3 points.


Four percent of owners reported that all their borrowing needs were not satisfied, up 1 point and historically very low. Twenty-seven percent reported all credit needs met (down 4 points) and 54 percent explicitly said they did not want a loan, up 3 points. The reduction in the percent not having their credit needs satisfied moved to the “don’t want a loan” category. Including those who did not answer the question, 69 percent of owners have no interest in borrowing, up 3 points. Only 1 percent reported that financing was their top business problem compared to 22 percent citing taxes, 19 percent citing regulations and red tape, and 15 percent the availability of qualified labor. Weak sales garnered 10 percent of the vote. Twenty-seven percent of all owners reported borrowing on a regular basis
(down 1 point). Overall, loan demand remains historically weak, even with cheap money. The net percent of owners expecting credit conditions to ease in the coming months improved 1 point to a net negative 3 percent..


  • Small business survey questions can be found at the end of today's report.
  • The baseline "100" score is associated with 1986 survey data.

The previous month's Small Business Optimism Index was 104.5.


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