Jobs Report

NFIB Small Business Jobs Report

The NFIB Research Foundation has collected Small Business Economic Trends data with quarterly surveys since 1974 and monthly surveys since 1986. Survey respondents are drawn from NFIB’s membership. The survey was conducted in March 2016 and reflects a random sample of 5,000 small-business owners/members drawn with 727 usable responses received for a response rate of 15%.

Small Business Employment Barely Turns Positive in March

NFIB data shows that job creation is not promising as less small business owners plan to hire.    

NFIB’s chief economist William C. Dunkelberg, issued the following comments on NFIB’s March 2016 Jobs Report:

Bill "Dunk" Dunkelberg
NFIB Chief Economist
William Dunkelberg

Job creation improved in March, but is still weak as job openings and plans to hire continue to spiral downward, according to the Jobs Report released today by the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB).

“There was a slight uptick in March’s data, but small business owners are still not hiring at a sufficient pace,” said NFIB Chief Economist William C. Dunkelberg.  “The numbers suggest that employment gains will continue to be modest and just enough to keep the unemployment rate steady.”

The average employment change during the month of March increased to 0.02 workers per firm.  The gain was positive, but not by much.  Forty-eight percent of small business owners reported that they were hiring or trying to hire, while 41 percent reported no qualified applicants for the positions that they were trying to fill. 

“For several months, owners have been reporting that finding qualified workers is the third ‘Single Most Important Business Problem’ behind taxes and government regulations and red tape,” Dunkelberg continued. “Workers are being disqualified for positions because of their social skills, appearance, and attitude as often as poor work history and a lack of specific skills.”

Twenty-five percent of all owners reported job openings that they could not fill in the current period.  This is a decent reading historically, but it is the second monthly decline suggesting that labor market tightness has faded.  Down 1 point from February and 6 points from December, a seasonally adjusted 9 percent of owners plan to create new jobs. Owners that are raising compensation remained the same at 22 percent and the net percent planning to increase compensation rose 4 points.

“Even with a minor gain, the March jobs numbers are not promising,” Dunkelberg said.

He predicts that the March jobs number will remain weak, close to the 200,000 mark with no progress on the unemployment rate.   

NFIB’s March Jobs Report is based on the NFIB monthly Small Business Economic Trends survey. The survey was conducted in March and reflects the response of 727 small businesses.

Results of the full survey will be released on Tuesday, April 12th.

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Employment Outlook:

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Expected Jobs Numbers:

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Small Business Jobs Report March 2016 from NFIB 



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