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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 latest survey is based on 1,873 respondents to the April survey of a random sample of NFIB’s member firms.
NFIB's chief economist William C. Dunkelberg, issued the following statement on the April 2013 job numbers:
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NFIB Chief Economist
"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% 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% of owners made no net change in employment. Almost half (49%) of owners surveyed hired or tried to hire in the last three months, and 38% (78% 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% 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% of owners plan to increase employment at their firm (up 3 points), and 4% 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."
Results of the full survey will be released Tuesday, May 14, 2013 at 7:30 AM.
NFIB Small Business Economic Trends, May 2013
After last month’s disappointing drop in small business confidence, April’s Index of Small Business Optimism rose 2.6 points to 92.1, just above the recovery average of 90.7. In April’s report, 4 Index components rose, 2 fell and 4 were unchanged. Yet pessimism abounds within the sector, as still far more of those surveyed expect business conditions to be worse in 6 months than those who think they will be better.
May 2013 Survey
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