Small Business optimism dipped slightly in December (2018), according to the recently released December small business optimism research tracked monthly by the National Federation of Independent Business. (NFIB).

“Recently, we’ve seen two themes promoted in the public discourse: first, the economy is going to overheat and cause inflation and second, the economy is slowing and the Federal Reserve should not raise interest rates. However, the NFIB surveys of the small business half of the economy have shown no signs of an inflation threat, and in real terms Main Street remains very strong, setting record levels of hiring along the way.”

NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg

Hiring strengthened to the highest reading in six months, job openings are at a record high levels, and plans to create new jobs are down only three points from August’s record high.

The net percent of owners expecting better business conditions in six months and the percent viewing the current period as a good time to expand have both tapered off since the record high Index reading in August but still remain well above their historical averages.

5% | Capital outlays are five percentage points higher than in August, although

-8% | Plans for outlays are eight points below the high for this expansion

12% |Plans to invest in inventories are only two points below August, the record high.

       39% | Small business owners reporting job openings they could not fill

24% | Percentage of small business owners who reported planned increases in the next few months

24% | Percentage of small business owners who reported planned increases in the next few months

35% | The percent of business owners reporting that they increased employee compensation continued at 45-year record high levels

32% | Percent of owners reporting all credit needs met (unchanged)

60% | Percentage of owners saying they were not interested in a loan — up three points from previous month.

60% | Percentage of owners reporting they are hiring (or trying to hire)

You can download the full report at


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