Dip in small business optimism attributed to “psychological effect” of recession predictions. Overall: Still bullish.

The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index remains high, despite a small dip in August. 

The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index fell 1.6 points to 103.1, remaining within the top 15 percent of readings. Overall, August was a good month for small business. However, optimism slipped because fewer owners said they expect better business conditions and real sales volumes in the coming months. Job creation accelerated, positive earnings trends improved, and quarter-on-quarter sales gains remained strong.

Uncertainty and recession expectations may be taking a toll, says the NFIB CEO.

“In spite of the success we continue to see on Main Street, the manic predictions of recession are having a psychological effect and creating uncertainty for small business owners throughout the country,” said NFIB President and CEO Juanita D. Duggan. “Small business owners continue to invest, grow, and hire at historically high levels, and we see no indication of a coming recession.”

The Uncertainty Index rose four points. And, once again, small business owners report difficulty in finding qualified workers.

NFIB economist William Dunkelberg adds,

 “The pessimism we’re seeing is contagious, even though the actual economy is thriving. Expectations can be infected and, as a result, could turn sour. All the talk about an impending recession can create a false reality, but it doesn’t make it right. Main Street is continuing to produce and remains strong in spite of the headlines.”

In other economic news, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports job openings remain little changed

The number of job openings was little changed at 7.2 million on the last business day of July, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Over the month, hires edged up to 6.0 million and separations
increased to 5.8 million.

Calculated Risk points out,

In July there were 7.217 million job openings, and, according to the July Employment report, there were 6,063 million unemployed. So, for the seventeenth consecutive month, there were more job openings than people unemployed. Also note that the number of job openings has exceeded the number of hires since January 2015 (4+ years).

That explains a lot of the hiring challenge faced by business owners.