Economic Report: Small-business optimism jumps to 34-year high, NFIB says

Economic Report: Small-business optimism jumps to 34-year high, NFIB says
imageBloomberg News/Landov

Chelsey White, founder of Chelsweets and finance manager of consumer products at L'Oreal SA, decorates a cake at her apartment in New York, U.S., on Sunday, April 30, 2017.

The numbers: The National Federation of Independent Business small-business optimism index rose 3 points in May to a reading of 107.8, its second-highest level in 45 years and strongest of the recovery.

That’s just a touch under the record level of 108 reached in July, 1983.

What happened: A gauge on compensation increases rose to a record high, as did a series on positive earnings trends and expansion plans.

That said, plans to raise prices are the highest since 2008, as are reports of price hikes. Concerns about labor quality are second highest in history.

Component Seasonally adjusted level Change from last month
Plans to increase employment 18% 2
Plans to make capital outlays 30% 1
Plans to increase inventories 4% 3
Expect economy to improve 37% 7
Expect real sales higher 31% 10
Current inventory -4% 0
Current job openings 33% -2%
Expected credit conditions -5% 1
Now a good time to expand 34% 7%
Earnings trends 3% 4

The big picture: The NFIB survey forms a fitting backdrop for the two-day Federal Open Market Committee meeting that begins Tuesday, with an economy running hot but companies reporting a shortage of materials and talented workers. About a quarter reported finding workers as their single largest problem , ahead of taxes and regulation.