The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index rose to 99.8 in April, an increase of 1.6 points from March. The Optimism Index has increased 4.8 points over the past three months since January but a record 44% of owners reported job openings that could not be filled.
“Small business owners are seeing a growth in sales but are stunted by not having enough workers. Finding qualified employees remains the biggest challenge for small businesses and is slowing economic growth. Owners are raising compensation, offering bonuses and benefits to attract the right employees.”
NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg.
Other key findings:
- Eight of the 10 Index components improved and two declined.
- The NFIB Uncertainty Index decreased one point to 80.
- Earnings trends over the past three months improved eight points to a net negative 7%.
- Owners have plans to invest in their businesses as the percentage of those planning to make capital expenditures in the next three to six months increased seven points to 27%.
- The percent of owners expecting better business conditions over the next six months fell seven points to a net negative 15%, surprisingly glum.
47% | Percent reported capital outlays in the last six months, down two points from March but 10 points above last year’s low. Of those making expenditures, 42% reported spending on new equipment, 25% acquired new vehicles, and 15% improved or expanded facilities.
6% | Prtcentage of those surveyed who acquired new buildings or land for expansion and 12% spent money for new fixtures and furniture. Twenty-seven percent plan capital outlays in the next few months. Hopefully supportive of improved productivity.
3% | Percentage of all owners (seasonally adjusted) reported higher nominal sales in the past three months, up nine points from March. The net percent of owners expecting higher real sales volumes improved one point to a net 1%.
7% | Percentage of owners who view current inventory stocks as “too low” in April, up to four points. A net 5% of owners plan inventory investment in the coming months, up to one point from March.
Full report at NFIB.com | https://assets.nfib.com/nfibcom/SBET-Apr-2021.pdf (PDF)