BIRMINGHAM, Alabama – Small business owners were more optimistic in July than they were a month before, and gains were posted in most of the economic indicators measured by the National Federation of Independent Business, the organization announced this morning.
Despite the improvement, most small businesses aren’t hiring and business owners remain skeptical of the economy, the organization said.
“Unfortunately, nothing is being done to allay the most pressing concerns identified by job creators — dealing with rising health insurance costs, regulations, tax complexity, energy costs and general economic uncertainty,” Bill Dunkelberg, NFIB’s chief economist, said in a prepared statement.
The NFIB’s optimism index gained about a half a point in July, reaching 94.1. A score of 100 on the index represents the average reading.
Rosemary Elebash, state director of NFIB/Alabama, said business owners in Alabama are as pessimistic as those throughout the nation.
“Our members are trying, but Washington isn’t giving us a lot to work with,” she said in a prepared statement.
Among the findings of the NFIB’s July survey:
–The average increase in employment among the 350,000 member businesses was a negative 0.11. Businesses have stopped laying off workers, in general, but they have not resumed hiring.
–Twenty percent of business owners reported having jobs they could not fill.
–The percentage of owners reporting that they expect sales to increase rose 2 percentage points to 7 percent.
–Nineteen percent of business owners reported increasing payrolls, while 4 percent reported decreases.
–The percent of businesses planning capital spending was unchanged at 23 percent.
–The percent of business owners who viewed the month as a good time to expand facilities rose 2 points to 9 percent.