NFIB: Modest Improvement and Correlation du jour

The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) released its Small Business Economic Trends Report (SBET) [.pdf], and the news was an improvement over the prior month:

The National Federation of Independent Business Index of Small Business Optimism rose 1.5 points in November rising to 93.2, the highest reading since December 2007, and the fourth consecutive monthly gain.

Unfortunately, even a reading of 93.2 is still recessionary territory.

Two items of note:

Hiring Plans increased to +4, the best reading in about two years.  This measure has gone from -3 two months ago, to +1 last month, and now to +4.  Hopefully this will translate to some better payroll numbers over the next few months.  It would appear small businesses may at least be seeing some light at the end of this long tunnel.

“Poor Sales” remains mired at near record high levels as the “single biggest problem” facing small business owners — 30 this month, and at 29 or above since February 2009.  This indicator of what’s holding back small businesses has a very high correlation to the unemployment rate (0.86):


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