Numbers from a monthly industry survey find small business owners more optimistic about the economy.
The National Federation of Independent Business on Tuesday said its Optimism Index rose 1.4 points to 96.6 in the month, the highest reading since September 2007.
It’s the third straight month the survey has shown an improvement in small business-owner sentiment.
However, the National Federation of Independent Business cautions the index remains far below readings that have “normally accompanied an expansion in the U.S. economy.”
NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg says that most small business owners are still sluggish to invest in the future because of the spikes in prices in response to rising labor and high energy costs. He also says the gains in optimism were fueled by “expectations” since the components more closely related to GDP and employment growth all dropped by a point last month.
Dunkelberg also says, “As long as this is the case the economy will continue to be ‘bifurcated’ with the small business sector not pulling its historical weight in the GDP numbers.”
CNBC reports “Small business owners increased employment by a seasonally adjusted average of 0.11 workers per firm in May. Roughly 11 percent of the owners reported adding an average of 3.0 workers per firm over the past few months.”
Seventy-seven percent of owners made no change in employment, 24% of owners reported job openings they could not fill and 14% reported using temporary workers.