The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) Index of Small Business Optimism fell three points to 91.4 in June, which was below the May level of 94.4 and the consensus expectation of 93.3. These declines were broad-based, as all but one of the components declined from their May levels. Labor market signals are declining further with small business plans to hire in the next three months falling to 3 percent (previously: 6 percent). There was continued evidence of skills mismatch, as 33 percent of firms reported few or no qualified applicants (previous: 37 percent) and 15 percent reported positions that they were not able to fill right now (previous: 20 percent). More broadly, this report suggests that while layoffs have stabilized hiring has yet to catch up.
There was a significant deterioration in the economic outlook as well, with the net percentage of respondents who expected the economy to improve in the coming months falling to -10 percent (previous: -2 percent). This component alone accounted for 25 percent of the decline in the headline index and was in line with the weak employment report and ISM in June.
Earnings trends were also substantially lower, with the net percentage of those expecting higher earnings falling to -22 percent (previous: -15 percent). This fall in earnings optimism was matched by
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