NFIB: Small Business Optimism Improving

Slight Growth From November To December

Small Business Optimism ImprovingIncreased capital spending and greater job creation in December raised business owner sentiment, according to the latest NFIB Small Business Optimism Index. The National Federation of Independent Business’ new reading of 93.9 indicates a slight growth in optimism from November to December, while demonstrating back-to-back monthly gains in small-business confidence.

“The surge in spending, especially on equipment and fixtures and furniture, is certainly welcome and is hopefully not just an end-of-year event for tax or other purposes,” the NFIB wrote in its report. “This level of spending is more typical of a growing economy.”

Data shows the manufacturing, construction and professional services sectors are making promising improvements, though consumer spending on services has dipped. Overall, for 2014, small-business owners are feeling more positive when it comes to sales expectations as 88% predict higher sales, which is an increase of five points over November data. The reading was at its highest level since early 2012. Adding to the good news, business owners hired more staffers in December than they had predicted in the NFIB’s November survey. Small businesses grew by an average of 0.24 workers in December – the highest reading since February of 2006.

The optimism crosses over into the promotional products industry, according to Matthew Watkins. The CEO of LogoSurfing Promotional Products (asi/246818) added three new outside sales reps in 2013. “We feel that they are now fully trained and expect a significant increase from our outside sales team as well as our continued growth with online sales,” he said. Watkins is targeting the medical industry, as well as corporate accounts. He feels that corporate accounts will prove to be the best return in 2014.

Kirby Hasseman, owner of Hasseman Marketing & Communications (asi/221824), is very optimistic for 2014. “We have shown consistent growth over the past three years and are projecting to match or increase on that trend,” he said. “Our largest growth markets have been manufacturing, education, finance and retail. Those are the vertical markets we plan to continue in.”