Small business owners are showing unprecedented confidence in the economy as the optimism index continues at record high numbers, rising to 107.6 in February, according to the NFIB Small Business Economic Trends Survey, released today. The historically high numbers include a jump in small business owners increasing capital outlays and raising compensation.
Job creation remained solid in the small business sector as owners reported a seasonally adjusted average employment change per firm of 0.22 workers, a strong showing and a repeat of last month. … Fifty-two percent reported hiring or trying to hire (down 3 points), but 47 percent (90 percent of those hiring or trying to hire) reported few or no qualified applicants for the positions they were trying to fill. Twenty-two percent of owners cited the difficulty of finding qualified workers as their Single Most Important Business Problem (unchanged), exceeding the percentage citing taxes or the cost of regulation.
This graph shows the small business optimism index since 1986.
The index increased to 107.6 in February.
Note: Usually small business owners complain about taxes and regulations. However, during the recession, “poor sales” was the top problem.
Now the difficulty of finding qualified workers is the top problem.