2017 Charts of the Week

NFIB Small Business Survey

Chart of the Week for August 11, 2017 - August 17, 2017

U.S. small business optimism has been steady during 2017.

NFIB publishes a monthly seasonally adjusted index (NFIB Small Business Survey) that is derived from a large sample of its small business members. Among the 10 topics included in the survey are: plans to increase employment, plans to make capital expenditures, expect economy to improve, current job openings, and is now a good time to expand. Economists see the survey as a good representation of the health of small businesses, which represent about 50 percent of the nation's workforce.

The chart above shows the NFIB Small Business Survey values for August 2016 through July 2017. Following the U.S. presidential election in November 2016, the survey rose from 98.4 in November to 105.9 in January 2017, which was the highest level for the survey since 2004. Since January, the index value has been generally steady in a range between 103 and 105. Among the categories with an increase in July were expectations for the economy to improve (37% versus 33% in June), business expansion plans (23% versus 21%), and expansion of employment (19% versus 15%). Some concerns noted by economists include uncertainty over government policies on healthcare and taxes, as well as employment reports that are showing difficulty in finding qualified applicants for job openings.

© Copyright 2017 ICMA Retirement Corporation, All Rights Reserved. This information is intended for educational purposes only and is not to be construed as investment advice or a solicitation to buy or sell securities. Investors should seek financial advice regarding the appropriateness of investing in any securities or investment strategies discussed here. Past performance is not necessarily indicative of future performance.

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