NFIB Jobs Statement: Owners Report More Jobs, Raise New (small ‘h’) hopes?

Date: May 02, 2013

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For Immediate Release
Contact: Cynthia Magnuson, 202-314-2036 or

WASHINGTON, D.C., May 2, 2013 — Chief economist for the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) William C. Dunkelberg issued the following statement on the April job numbers, based on NFIB’s monthly economic survey that will be released on Tuesday, May 14, 2013. The survey was conducted in April and reflects the responses of 1,873 sampled NFIB members:
“April was another positive, albeit lackluster month for job creation—but small-business owners are expressing a bit more enthusiasm in hiring plans in the months to come. According to NFIB’s latest data, small employers reported increasing employment an average of 0.14 workers per firm in April. This is a bit lower than March’s reading, but still the fifth positive sequential monthly gain.

“Thirteen percent of the owners (up 4 points) reported adding an average of 3.2 workers per firm over the past few months. Offsetting that, 13 percent reduced employment (up 2 points) an average of 3.0 workers (seasonally adjusted), producing a seasonally adjusted gain of 0.14 workers per firm overall. The remaining 74 percent of owners made no net change in employment. Almost half (49 percent) of owners surveyed hired or tried to hire in the last three months, and 38 percent (78 percent of those trying to hire or hiring) reported few or no qualified applicants for open positions.

“Eighteen (18) percent of all owners reported job openings they could not fill in the current period, which is unchanged from the previous month. This measure is highly correlated (inversely) with the unemployment rate, and its failure to improve suggests that the unemployment rate will not improve unless, of course, more unemployed left the labor force. 
“But the big news is that job creation plans rose 6 points, to a net 6 percent of small employers now planning to increase total employment in the next three months. This is a nice improvement over the 4 point decline in hiring plans we saw in March. Not seasonally adjusted, 18 percent of owners plan to increase employment at their firm (up 3 points), and 4 percent plan reductions (down 1 point). Perhaps the ‘frost’ in March didn’t do as much damage to the ‘green shoots’ as many had feared. But we’ll see. Owners remain pessimistic and wary about the future of the economy and see little reason to hire relative to what would be expected in the fifth year of an expansion.

“The NFIB labor market indicators remained more or less on track, with an improvement only in plans to create jobs. But that gain simply walked back the 4 point decline in March, so it would be premature to proclaim much progress for small-business hiring. We shouldn’t expect much from the Labor Department jobs report on Friday, either—probably a little change in employment and little change in the unemployment rate, either up or down, is all we will see.”

Small business jobs data for April

NFIB is the nation’s leading small business association, with offices in Washington, D.C., and all 50 state capitals. Founded in 1943 as a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, NFIB gives small and independent business owners a voice in shaping the public policy issues that affect their business. NFIB’s powerful network of grassroots activists send their views directly to state and federal lawmakers through our unique member-only ballot, thus playing a critical role in supporting America’s free enterprise system. NFIB’s mission is to promote and protect the right of our members to own, operate and grow their businesses. More information is available online at

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