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Economy in Brief
U.S. Mortgage Loan Applications Remain Little Changed; Variable Rate Apps Surge
The MBA total Mortgage Market Volume Index slipped 0.8% last week (-12.4% y/y)...
La Dolce Vita? Italian Confidence Bumps Higher
Italian business and consumer confidence moved higher in March...
U.S. Consumer Confidence Improves Significantly
The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index for March strengthened 8.2% (30.7% y/y) to 125.6...
U.S. Energy Product Prices Remain Under Pressure
Regular gasoline prices held steady at $2.32 per gallon last week (12.1% y/y) for the third straight week...
German Federal Debt Levels Fall
German debt level fell outright in Q4 2016 as the ratio of federal debt-to-GDP also fell...
NABE 2018 Forecast: Modest Improvement in Economic Growth & Higher Inflation
The NABE expects 2.5% real U.S. economic growth in 2018 compared to 2.3% forecast for 2017...
by Tom Moeller May 10, 2016
The National Federation of Independent Business reported that its Small Business Optimism Index increased 1.1% during April to 93.6 following declines in three of the four prior months.
An improved 8% of firms reported that now was a good time to expand the business, but expectations for the overall economy remained dour. One percent of firms expected higher real sales in six months, roughly the lowest in five months.
Employment prospects brightened slightly. Eleven percent of firms expected to increase employment, the most in three months; however, a higher 46% of respondents found few or no qualified candidates to fill job openings, up from March's 41% low. A sharply increased 29% of firms had positions they were not able to fill right now. A greater 24% of firms raised worker compensation over the last twelve months, but a lessened 15% were expecting to raise it in the next three months.
Small businesses' pricing ability improved as a lessened 1% of firms were lowering prices. Expectations about the future ability to raise prices, however, eased as a fewer 16% of firms were planning to raise them.
Credit remained slightly more difficult to get as 5% reported trouble, up from 3% at the low. A stable 31% of firms felt satisfied that their borrowing needs had been filled in the last three months.
A lessened 21% of firms indicated that taxes were the single most important problem and a reduced 20% reported government requirements were the largest single problem. A stable 12% felt challenged by the quality of labor. A reduced 11% of firms indicated that poor sales were the largest single problem. An increased 10% reported insurance cost & availability as the largest problem. A stable 8% reported competition from large businesses as the largest problem, and a fairly stable 6% reported the cost of labor was the biggest problem. Inflation was indicated by a steady 2% of respondents.
Roughly 24 million small businesses exist in the U.S. and they create 80% of all new jobs. The typical NFIB member employs 10 people and reports gross sales of about $500,000 a year. The NFIB figures can be found in Haver's SURVEYS database.
|National Federation of Independent Business (SA, Net %)||Apr||Mar||Feb||Apr'15||2015||2014||2013|
|Small Business Optimism Index (1986=100)||93.6||92.6||92.9||96.5||96.1||95.6||92.4|
|Firms Reporting Now is a Good Time To Expand the Business||8||6||8||11||11||10||7|
|Firms Expecting Higher Real Sales In Six Months||1||1||0||9||8||11||4|
|Firms Expecting Economy To Improve||-18||-17||-21||-5||-5||-5||-15|
|Firms Planning to Increase Employment||11||9||10||11||12||10||6|
|Firms With Few or No Qualified Applicants For Job Openings||46||41||42||44||46||43||39|
|Firms Reporting That Credit Was Harder To Get||5||5||5||4||4||6||6|
|Firms Raising Average Selling Prices||-1||-4||-4||1||2||8||2|