Small Business Optimism Flat In October

U.S. small business’s confidence was flat in October, reports the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB). Its Small Business Optimism Index stood at 96.1 in October, unchanged from the month before.

In the NFIB’s survey, respondents listed government regulations and red tape as the single most important problem facing their business (22 percent), followed by taxes (21 percent), quality of labor (13 percent) and poor sales (12 percent).

The NFIB’s data shows hiring stalled in October, with small businesses adding zero net employees. It did find that 55 percent of business owners reported hiring or trying to hire in October, up two points, but 48 percent reported few or no qualified applicants. Furthermore, 14 percent reported using temporary workers, and 27 percent of owners reported job openings they could not fill in the current period, both metrics unchanged from September.

The number of business owners reporting higher nominal sales in the past three months, compared to the prior three months, slipped seven seasonally adjusted percentage points to a negative eight percent. Expected real sales volumes improved by three points, climbing to a seasonally adjusted net four percent of owners expecting gains.

To read more of the NFIB’s Small Business Optimism Index for October, click here.

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