The Index of Small Business Optimism rose 1.6 points to 105.2 in July, preserving the surge in optimism that started the day after the election.
Seven of the 10 Index components posted a gain, two declined, and one was unchanged. Since the recession, the Index peaked at 105.9 in January, just 0.7 points above the July reading.
60 percent of small business owners reported hiring or trying to hire (up 6 points), but 52 percent (87 percent of those hiring or trying to hire) reported few or no qualified applicants for the positions they were trying to fill.
"The number of owners trying to fill positions and create new jobs is very high," said Bill Dunkelberg, NFIB chief economist. "That’s good news for workers, because they can command higher wages and better benefits. The bad news is that small business employers are finding it very hard to hire and keep their workers."