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What's Hot in Small Business – Chris Crum

What's Hot in Small Business – Chris Crum
Chris Crum has been a featured writer with the team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. Chris writes for Small Business Resources about social media, search, and what’s new for small business. Hundreds of publications link to Chris’ articles including the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, LA Times and the New York Times.

Small Business Sentiment On The Rise In the U.S.

Small Business Sentiment On The Rise In the U.S.

The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) released its Optimism Index data for July, finding a slight uptick in small business optimism.

The Optimism Index rose 0.7 points to a 97.7 reading. There wasn’t a whole lot of change month-to-month for the ten index components, except for the outlook for expansion and business conditions, which was responsible for said uptick.

Business owners increased employment by 0.01 workers per firm in July on average. That’s the tenth positive month in a row, which is the longest period of growth since 2006. 13% reported adding an average of 2.9 workers per firm over the past few months. That’s up one point. 12%, however, reduced employment an average of 2.7 workers. This is all seasonally adjusted.

75% of owners made no change in employment while 53%hired or tried to hire in the last three months. 42% reported few or no qualified applicants for open positions. 25% reported job openings they couldn’t fill in the current period, which was down 2 points. 15% reported using temp workers, up 1 point.

Job creation plans rose a percentage point to 13%, which was the best reading since 2007.

While the percentage of owners reporting higher nominal sales in the past three months compared to the prior three months was down a point, it was still one of the best readings since 2007, the NFIB said. 13% cited weak sales as their top business problem, which was one of the lowest readings since 2007.

Earnings trends remained unchanged at a net negative 18%, which was one of the best readings since 2007 as well. The Federation says profit trends in general have improved.

2% reported reduced worker compensation, and 24% reported raising compensation. This category had the second best reading since the first quarter of 2008. 14% plan to raise compensation in the coming months. That’s up one point.

The Federation says the reported gains in compensation are in the range typical of an economy with solid growth.

A net negative 3 percent of owners reported growth in inventories, but more firms are reducing inventory than building stocks. The percentage of owners viewing current stocks as too low, worsened one point to a net negative 3. Sales trends continued to deteriorate, but stayed near the best levels in the recovery.

Expected sales didn’t improve, and the Federation says this contributed to less urgency to rebuild stocks.

12% of owners reported reducing their average selling prices in the past three months. That’s up 2 points. 25% reported price increases - also up two points.

Things aren’t leaps and bounds better than they were, but they are, for the most part, headed in the right direction.


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