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 and reflects the responses of 716 sampled NFIB members.

Hiring Good (mostly), But Plans on the Decline

(Based on 575 respondents to the MARCH survey of a random sample of
NFIB’s member firms, surveyed through 3/30/15)

NFIB’s chief economist William C. Dunkelberg, issued the following comments on NFIB’s March 2015 Jobs Report:

Bill "Dunk" Dunkelberg
NFIB Chief Economist
William Dunkelberg

Reported hiring was very strong, with a net addition of 0.18 workers per firm, eclipsing the substantial readings in January and February. In part, this may reflect heavier hiring in January and February as the NFIB question asks about employment change over the past three months. For early March survey respondents, that reaches back into December. But regardless, the number was one of the best readings in the last decade.

However, the net percent of owners reporting an increase in employment fell 5 percentage points to a net -1 percent of owners, down substantially from the recent high of 9 percent in December 2014. Therefore the jobs numbers will not provide much of a boost to total employment.

Fifty percent reported hiring or trying to hire (down 3 points), but 42 percent reported few or no qualified applicants for the positions they were trying to fill. Ten percent reported using temporary workers, down 2 points from February.

Twenty-four percent of all owners reported job openings they could not fill in the current period, down 5 points from February which was the highest reading since March 2006. Strongly correlated with the unemployment rate (-.89), the March reading anticipates an increase in the unemployment rate.

A net 10 percent planning to create new jobs, down 2 points but a solid reading.

It appears that economic growth has weakened further from Q4’s rather tepid pace, expected by many to come in below 2 percent at an annual rate. This is not supportive of much job growth going forward, especially with weak retail sales. But, the jobs number is a “rear view”, covering some decent months of job growth, surprisingly strong given the weather and union actions in the western ports. The NFIB data anticipates a weaker March job number than in February, closer to 250,000, with a higher unemployment rate unless departures from the labor force increase.


Results of the full survey will be released on Tuesday, April 14, 2015.

To interview NFIB's chief economist Bill Dunkelberg, please contact Kelly Klass at 609-713-4243 (cell) or

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