The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index rose 1.7 points to 96.9 in April, this in spite of a quarter of virtually no economic growth. The index remained below the January reading, and nine of the 10 index components gained or were unchanged.
“Optimism may have seen a slight jump from last month’s weak numbers, but there was not an especially large gain in any area except for an improvement in profit trends," said NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg. "Small-business owners are still wary of the future, and that’s most evident when we asked them about future sales."
Small businesses posted another decent month of job creation. Those that hired were more aggressive than those reducing employment, producing an average increase of 0.14 workers per firm, continuing a string of solid readings for 2015.
Fifty-three percent reported hiring or trying to hire (up 3 points), but 44 percent reported few or no qualified applicants for the positions they were trying to fill. Thirteen percent reported using temporary workers, up 3 points. Twenty-seven percent of all owners reported job openings they could not fill in the current period, up 3 points from March.