Wednesday, June 10, 2015

No Soft Patch for Small Business (excerpt)

The NFIB survey of small firms reports a series reflecting the net percentage of business owners saying that their earnings were higher over the past three months versus lower. It has been negative since the start of the data in January 1986. It jumped last month to -7%, the highest reading since October 2005. It’s up from the series’ record low of -47% during January 2009.

Not surprisingly, the 12-month average of the earnings series is highly correlated with the NFIB small business optimism index. When small business owners are optimistic because their earnings are improving, they tend to hire workers. Sure enough, the percentage of small companies expecting to increase employment is up to 11.6%, the highest since February 2008. The percentage of small firms with job openings is up to 25.4%, the highest since December 2001.

The latest NFIB survey noted: “Owners report that the labor market is, from an historical perspective, getting very tight. Owner complaints about ‘finding qualified workers’ are rising, job openings are near 42 year record high levels, and job creation plans remain solid. Over 80 percent of those hiring or trying to hire in May reported few nor no qualified applicants.” In an obvious dig, the report added that there’s not much the Fed can do to increase the supply of qualified workers.

Today's Morning Briefing: Small Business Is Big. (1) Jury is out on soft-patch verdict. (2) No soft patch for small business owners. (3) Businesses create jobs, not governments. (4) Small businesses lead the way. (5) Corporate profits lead employment and capital spending. (6) Hard to find qualified workers. (7) Capital spending improving, but lagging. (8) A real jolt in JOLTS. (9) SMidCaps vs. LargeCaps. (10) Falling oil prices have had bigger impact on earnings than rising dollar. (11) Margins getting squeezed among SMidCaps as they ramp up hirng. (More for subscribers.)

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