6309 Monarch Park Place, Suite 203
Niwot, CO 80503, USA
Phone (303) 443-5060
Toll free (888) 742-5060
The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index was flat in May at 104.5, ending three straight months of declining optimism, according to the NFIB Small Business Economic Trends Report.
Five of the components posted a gain, four declined and one remained unchanged. Nearly all of the slight decline was attributable to an eight-point plunge in expected business conditions.
The average employment change per firm was 0.34, which puts hiring activity in May near the highest levels in the 43-year history of the Index. Fifteen percent of owners reported hiring three workers per firm, 9 percent reported cutting 2.3 workers per firm.
A strong majority of owners, 59 percent, reported hiring or trying to hire in May, although 51 percent said they found few or no qualified workers. That was a problem for 86 percent of owners who said they tried to hire. Nineteen percent of all owners in the survey said finding qualified workers was their top concern, making it the second-biggest problem for small business.
“The tight labor market has been a persistent problem for small business owners for the past several months, and the problem appears to be getting worse,” said Bill Dunkelberg, NFIB's chief economist. “It’s forcing small business owners to increase compensation, which we’re seeing in this data, to attract new workers and keep the ones they have."