The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index rose 0.8 points in October to 94.9. Five of the ten index components posted gains, while four declined.
Labor market conditions softened as only 55% of businesses reported hiring or trying to hire, down 3 points from September. Forty-eight percent reported few or no qualified applicants for the positions they were trying to fill (unchanged from the previous month). Fifteen percent of employers surveyed cited the difficulty of finding qualified workers as their top business problem. A seasonally adjusted net 10% of employees plan to create new jobs, unchanged from the previous month.
The percent of owners reporting higher sales in the past three months fell 1 point to a net negative 7%. Eleven percent of small business owners reported weak sales as their top business problem, down 2 points from September.
Capital spending increased as 57% of owners reported capital outlays, up 2 points from September. The percent of owners planning capital outlays in the next 3 to 6 months was unchanged at 27%.
Credit conditions deteriorated some, as 4% of owners reported that all their borrowing needs were not met, down 2 points from the previous month. Only 2% of business owners surveyed reported that financing was their top business problem, up 1 point from September.
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