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Economy in Brief

U.S. Small Business Optimism Stabilizes
by Tom Moeller  October 11, 2011

The National Federation of Independent Business indicated that its September index of small business optimism ticked up to 88.9 from an unrevised 88.1 in August. Nevertheless, it remained near the lowest level since last July. Improvement in firms' expectations for the economy and sales was offset by deterioration in jobs and the availability of credit. The percentage of firms raising prices made up most of last month's deterioration but the percentage of firms planning to raise prices fell to 14%, its lowest since November.

The most important problems faced by small business were poor sales (28%), government requirements (18%), taxes (16%), inflation (8%), insurance cost & availability (7%), competition from large businesses (7%), quality of labor (6%), financial & interest rates (3%) and the cost of labor (3%).

Roughly 24 million small businesses exist in the U.S. and they create 80% of all new jobs. The NFIB figures can be found in Haver's SURVEYS database.

National Federation of Independent Business Sep Aug Jul Sep
10
2010 2009 2008
Small Business Optimism Index (SA,1986=100) 88.9 88.1 89.9 89.0 89.9 86.7 89.8
Firms Expecting Higher Real Sales In Six Months (Net %) -6 -12 -2 -3 1 -11 -7
Firms Expecting Economy To Improve (Net %) -22 -26 -15 -3 -1 -0 -10
Firms With One or More Job Openings (Net %) 14 15 12 11 10 9 18
Firms Reporting That Credit Was Harder To Get (Net %) 10 13 10 14 13 14 9
Firms Raising Avg. Selling Prices (Net %) 6 1 7 -11 -12 -20 17
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