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Economy

Economic Data (USA)

Wednesday, June 09, 2021

NFIB Small Business Optimism Index for May 2021

The National Federation of Independent Business® (NFIB®) released its Small Business Optimism Index for May 2021:

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Predicted: 100.0
Actual: 99.6

  • Change from Previous Month: -0.2004% (-0.2 point.)
  • Change from 12 Months Previous: +5.508% (+5.2 points.)

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From today's report:

"...'Small business owners are struggling at record levels trying to get workers back in open positions,' said NFIB Chief Economist  Bill Dunkelberg. 'Owners are offering higher wages to try to remedy the labor shortage problem. Ultimately, higher labor costs are being passed on to customers in higher selling prices.'..."

 "...Sixty-one percent of owners reporting hiring or trying to hire in May. Owners have plans to fill open positions with a seasonally adjusted net 27% planning to create new jobs in the next three months.

A net 34% of owners (seasonally adjusted) reported raising compensation, the highest level in the past 12 months. A net 22% of owners plan to raise compensation in the next three months, up two points from April.

Small business owners continue to report finding qualified employees remains a problem with 93% of owners hiring or trying to hire reported few or no 'qualified' applications for the positions they were trying to fill in May. Thirty-two percent of owners reported few qualified applicants for their positions and 25% reported none.

Eight percent of owners cited labor costs as their top business problem and 26% said that labor quality was their top business problem, the top business concern.

Forty percent of small business owners have job openings for skilled workers and 27% have openings for unskilled labor. In the construction industry, 51% of job openings are for skilled workers. Sixty-six percent of construction businesses reported few or no qualified applicants..."


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  • Small business survey questions can be found at the end of today's report.
  • The baseline "100" score is associated with 1986 survey data.
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The previous month's Small Business Optimism Index was 99.8.

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