December 14 The Index of Small Business Optimism registered a fourth consecutive monthly gain in November, signalling continued, but slow, economic growth. The Index is compiled monthly by the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) from a survey of some 500 of its members.
The Index rose 1.5 points in November, rising to 93.2, the highest reading since December 2007. Although improving, from an historical viewpoint the Index remains at a recession level. Prior to 2008, the Index had not been this low since 1993. The recovery in the Index continues to underperform all recovery periods since 1973, the start of the NFIB surveys, says NFIB.
Highlights of the report include:
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After hitting "0" in October, the average increase in employment per firm turned positive in November, to an average gain of .01 workers per firm.
- Capital Spending and Outlook
The frequency of reported capital outlays over the past six months rose four points to 51% of all firms, pulling away from the recent record low reading of 44%.
- Sales and Inventories
The net percent of all owners (seasonally adjusted) reporting higher nominal sales over the past three months worsened by two points to a net-negative 15%, 19 points better than March 2009, but still indicative of very weak customer activity
Seasonally adjusted, the net percent of owners raising prices was a net negative 4%, a one point increase from October. November is the 24th consecutive month in which more owners reported cutting average selling prices that raising them.
Reports of positive earnings trends fell four points in November, registering a net-negative 30%. Far more owners continue to report that earnings are deteriorating quarter-to-quarter than those who report rising earnings.
Overall, 91% of respondents reported that all their credit needs were met, or that they were not interested in borrowing. Nine percent reported that not all of their credit needs were satisfied. A record 53% said they did not want a loan.