Thursday, November 13, 2014

Small Business Owners Confirm Improving Jobs Market (excerpt)

October’s NFIB survey of small business owners continued to show an improving trend in almost all categories. The data can be volatile on a monthly basis, so I track various monthly averages. October’s Small Business Optimism Index (on a 12-month basis) rose to 94.6, the best reading since April 2008. The percentage of respondents reporting “poor sales” (on a six-month basis) fell to 12.8% last month, down sharply from the cyclical peak of 33.2% during March 2010. (By the way, this series is highly correlated with the unemployment rate.)

The survey corroborates lots of other positive labor market indicators. On a 12-month basis, the percentage of firms with one or more job openings rose to 23.4%, the highest since February 2008. The percentage expecting to increase employment rose to 9.4%, the best reading since May 2008. Capital spending plans aren’t as strong, though more owners say it is a good time to expand.

Today's Morning Briefing: Still Decoupling. (1) Standing out. (2) The benefit of slower global growth. (3) US small business survey showing lots of cyclical highs. (4) Citigroup Economic Surprise Index positive in US. Not so much in G9. (5) JP Morgan global composite index confirming global growth. (6) OECD Leading Indicators especially weak in Japan and Germany. (7) Maersk sees shipping slowdown. (8) Lower fuel costs should benefit EMs. (More for subscribers.)

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