NFIB Report on Jobs

"Job creation in December was essentially zero, although it improved infinitesimally from the November report—but it's nothing to write home about and certainly not a sign that robust growth is on the horizon.

"The average change in employment per firm increased to 0.03, up from -0.04 workers, with 11 percent of surveyed owners (up 1 point) reporting they added an average of 2.9 workers per firm over the past few months, and 13 percent reducing employment (up 2 points) an average of 1.9 workers (seasonally adjusted). The remaining 76 percent of owners made no net change in employment.  Forty-one percent of the owners hired or tried to hire in the last three months and 33 percent (80 percent of those trying to hire or hiring) reported few or no qualified applicants for open positions.  

"Sixteen (16) percent of all owners reported they had hard-to-fill job openings, a drop of 1 point from the previous month. This measure is highly correlated with the unemployment rate, so the NFIB survey anticipates little change in the rate.

"If there is any news in the numbers, it's the substantial weakening of job creation plans, which fell 4 points, indicating that only (a net) one percent of owners plan to increase employment in the months to come. Not seasonally adjusted, seven percent of owners plan to increase employment at their firm (down 4 points), but 11 percent plan reductions (down 2 points).

"The plunge in job creation plans and the decline in job openings likely reflect the pervasive frustration with Washington policy and the resulting economic uncertainty that peaked in December as Congress took us right to the edge of 'the cliff.' With the debt/deficit still a persistent problem, and states and cities struggling to fulfill all of the promises politicians made but did not fund, January is expected to bring disappointment, as most observers expect the beginning of the New Year to be sluggish. The cliff deal did bring some certainty about tax rates and extenders for another year, but the health care act and EPA regulations are now pouring out, providing little comfort about the course of future costs. If the unemployment rate falls, it is likely to be due more to demographics than new job creation which will not be strong, since holiday consumer spending failed to deliver the surge many had hoped for.

"We may have some certainty, but there is little reason to be hopeful. Happy New Year."


NFIB Study Finds Optimism "disturbingly low"

Dipping for a second consecutive month, after ending several months of slow growth, the Small Business Optimism Index gave up 0.2 points, falling to 91.2. The decline, while less anticipated given the Supreme Court decision on the health-care law and a flurry of activity surrounding the fiscal cliff, still leaves owner optimism disturbingly low and at recession levels. The Index has oscillated between 86.5 (July 2009) and 94.5 (February 2012) since the recession officially ended in June 2009. Prior to 2008, the Index averaged 100, well above the current reading. During the economic recovery, now three-years-old, the Index has averaged 90, making this the worst recovery period from a recession in the NFIB survey history (which began in 1973).

Read more: NFIB Study Finds Optimism "disturbingly low"

Ambush Elections Take Aim at Main Street, Montana

Small-business owners in our state are struggling: struggling to stay afloat in a lagging economy; struggling to plan for a health-care law that will take more money away from their business; struggling with regulations from Washington, D.C. that make running a business second in line to understanding compliance; struggling with a tax burden that is unfair and unjust.

And now, word comes from Washington, D.C., via the National Labor Relations Board, that may soon force small-business owners to struggle to maintain the connection to their employees that was once previously enjoyed.

Read more: Ambush Elections Take Aim at Main Street, Montana

Small-Business Owner Confidence Plunges More than Five Points

One of the Lowest Optimism Readings in Survey History

The small-business community exhibited an overwhelmingly negative response to the presidential election through a dramatic drop in owner confidence, reported by the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) Small Business Optimism Index. In one of the lowest readings in survey history, the Index dropped 5.6 points, bottoming out at 87.5.  

Read more: Small-Business Owner Confidence Plunges More than Five Points

NFIB Endorses Daines for House

The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), the nation's leading small-business association, has endorsed Steve Daines to represent Montana's At-Large Congressional District in the United States House of Representatives.

Read more: NFIB Endorses Daines for House

What is Standing in the Way of Small Business Hiring and Growth?

Uncertainty was identified as the primary reason that business owners are not hiring in a recent survey  conducted by the National Federation of Independent Business. “Uncertainty over business conditions” was cited by 41 percent of the respondents in a survey of 750 business owners with under 250 employees, selected from Dunn & Bradstreet files. And, 51 percent of those cited “political uncertainty” as the source of some or all of their concerns that prevented them from expanding their business (Each “impediment” was ranked on a scale of 1 to 7, the percentages presented here are based on the percent of owners selecting the top 2 severity ranks).

Poor market demand, was cited by  35% of the small business owners as a reason for not hiring.

Read more: What is Standing in the Way of Small Business Hiring and Growth?

NFIB Report: "Not Good"

"The last small-business jobs report before the election is not a good one. Indeed, September's reading was even worse than the two previous months, with the reported net change in employment per firm (seasonally adjusted) down 0.23. But it isn't any wonder that small firms are not hiring; given the tenuous political and economic atmosphere, owners are right to remain pessimistic about the future. They have been given little reason to increase their employment rolls.

Read more: NFIB Report: "Not Good"

NFIB v. Sebelius

Today brings to a close a week of oral arguments in the biggest court case since Brown v. Board of Education in 1953. On or before June 30, the U.S. Supreme Court will render its decision on NFIB v. Sebelius. In doing so, it will have answered one locally important question: Was Montana right to wait out a key requirement of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (known more popularly as ObamaCare), or will the state soon have to scramble to comply?

Read more: NFIB v. Sebelius

Health Care Law Challenged by NFIB

The Supreme Court of the United States announced that it has chosen, among numerous cases on the same topic, the challenge brought by the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) as the case the Court will rule on to determine the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

NFIB President and CEO Dan Danner and Karen Harned, executive director of NFIB's Small-Business Legal Center, issued the following statements in response to the news:

Read more: Health Care Law Challenged by NFIB

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