imageEconomic Indicators10 hours ago (Feb 11, 2020 07:33AM ET)

(C) Reuters. Sentiment Among U.S. Small Businesses Rebounded in January

(Bloomberg) — Sentiment among U.S. small businesses advanced in January for the third time in the last four months as owners grew more upbeat about sales prospects, indicating the economy started the new year on steady footing.

The National Federation of Independent Business optimism index rose 1.6 points to 104.3, exceeding the median forecast of 103.5 in a Bloomberg survey of economists. Six of the index’s 10 components rose, NFIB said in a statement Tuesday.

Key Insights

  • Twenty-six percent of respondents said finding qualified workers was their top issue, highlighting a still-tight labor market that is encouraging business owners to boost compensation.
  • The NFIB’s measure of job openings recouped much of its December decline, while the gauge of sales expectations jumped to the highest since May.
  • “The economic expansion continues its historic run as small businesses enter 2020,” NFIB’s William Dunkelberg and Holly Wade wrote in the report.

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  • A “historically high” percentage of business owners intend to increase compensation to fill open positions, the report said.
  • Inflation as tracked by the NFIB has trended upwards since September but remains “subdued” despite higher labor costs.

Sentiment Among U.S. Small Businesses Rebounded in January

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