WASHINGTON, D.C., October 4, 2012 — Chief economist for the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) William C. Dunkelberg, issued the following statement on the September job numbers, based on NFIB’s monthly economic survey that will be released on Tuesday, October 9, 2012. The survey was conducted in September and reflects the responses of 691 sampled NFIB members:
“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.
“There are still four million fewer people employed today than in the first quarter of 2008. The population grows about one percent annually, which seems to account for about all the job growth we are getting. To further depress employment growth, consumer spending has barely advanced this year.
“Seasonally adjusted, 10 percent of the owners reported adding an average of 2.2 workers per firm over the past few months, and 13 percent reduced employment an average of 3 workers. The remaining 77 percent of owners made no net change in employment. Fifty-one (51) percent of the owners hired or tried to hire in the last three months and 41 percent (80 percent of those trying to hire or hiring) reported few or no qualified applicants for open positions.
“The percent of owners reporting hard to fill job openings fell 1 point to 17 percent of all owners. Not seasonally adjusted, 10 percent plan to increase employment at their firm (down 3 points), and 11 percent plan reductions (up 2 points). Seasonally adjusted, the net percent of owners planning to create new jobs fell 6 points to four percent, a historically weak reading, especially in a recovery.
“Regionally, the only region of the country that saw any positive job growth was the West North Central states, largely because of energy production.
“Overall, another weak report for small-business job creation says nothing good about our future economic prospects. Winter is likely to set in early.”