Economic Snapshot: Small business optimism decreases over past 15 months

In the past 15 months, the NFIB Small Business Optimism Index has decreased from 100 to 92.8.

NFIB small business optimism

The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index dipped 0.3 points to 92.6 in March, statistically showing no change. Four of the 10 index components posted gains and six posted small declines.

Reported job creation improved in March, with the average employment change per firm rising to an average gain of 0.02 workers per firm. Thirteen percent reported increasing employment an average of 2.2 workers per firm, up 2 points, while 12 percent reported reducing employment an average of 4.3 workers per firm, down 1 point.

Forty-eight percent reported hiring or trying to hire, down 1 point, but 41 percent reported few or no qualified applicants for the positions they were trying to fill. Twelve percent of owners cited the difficulty of finding qualified workers as their single most important business problem.

Consumer price index

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased 0.1 percent in March on a seasonally adjusted basis. Over the last 12 months, the all items index rose 0.9 percent before seasonal adjustment.

The food index declined in March by 0.2 percent, as five of the six major grocery store food groups declined. The energy index rose for the first time since November, with all major components except natural gas increasing.

While the index for all items less food and energy increased in March, the 0.1 percent advance was the smallest increase since August. The index for all items less food and energy has risen 2.2 percent over the past 12 months, and the food index has increased 0.8 percent. Despite rising in March, the energy index has declined 12.6 percent over the last year.

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