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Small Business Optimism

By: Mike Earl

The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) is America's leading small business association, with more than 325,000 small businesses members throughout our great country. You have heard it said that small businesses are the lifeblood of the American economy. This is because small businesses:

  • Represent 99% of all employer firms.

  • Employ about half of private-sector employees.

  • Generate 63-80% of net new jobs annually (i.e. job growth predominately flows out of small businesses).

  • Create over half of private GDP (excluding farming).

The NFIB has been measuring Small Business Optimism since 1986. The survey used to gauge Small Business Optimism is not a simplistic yes or no question of whether each business owner is optimistic personally. Instead, the survey delves into the owners' plans for hiring; plans for capital outlays; earnings trends; economic and sales expectations; and job openings.

The last time small businesses were this optimistic was more than 12 years ago. More from the report:

"The average employment change per firm was 0.34, which puts hiring activity in May near the highest levels in the 43-year history of the Index

A strong majority of owners, 59 percent, reported hiring or trying to hire in May, although 51 percent said they found few or no qualified workers. Remarkably, that was a problem for 86 percent of owners who said they tried to hire. Nineteen percent of all owners in the survey said finding qualified workers was their top concern, making it the second-biggest problem for small business."

1) Full NFIB May report here.