WASHINGTON, D.C., November 1, 2012 — Chief economist for the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) William C. Dunkelberg, issued the following statement on the October job numbers, based on NFIB’s monthly economic survey that will be released on Tuesday, November 13, 2012. The survey was conducted in October and reflects the responses of 2,029 sampled NFIB members:
“Anyone expecting big economic news on the Friday before the election will be sorely disappointed. October, not unlike the last several months, proved to be another weak job creation month. Pessimistic uncertainty within the small-business community continues to dampen hiring plans. According to the October survey, owners stopped releasing workers; the average change in employment per firm rose to just 0.02 workers—essentially zero. While this development ends a four-month run of employment reductions (September’s number was a seasonally adjusted -0.23), it is no reason to get excited. Employment is still 4 million lower than it was in 2008 (first quarter).
“Last’s month’s surprising Household Survey will likely ‘right itself’ after its shocking 893,000 net new jobs (most part-time), a reading that is historically inconsistent with our current anemic two percent GDP growth. The unemployment rate will likely rise a tenth of a point or two, and only about 110,000 new jobs will show up in the Payroll Survey.
“Seasonally adjusted, 11 percent of the owners reported adding an average of 2.7 workers per firm over the past few months, and 10 percent reduced employment an average of 2.9 workers. The remaining 79 percent of owners made no net change in employment. Forty-eight (48) percent of the owners hired or tried to hire in the last three months and 38 percent (79 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 one point to 16 percent of all owners, the second monthly decline in a row. This is not good news for the unemployment rate as it has a strong negative correlation with this series. Twelve (12) percent have openings for skilled workers, two percent for unskilled and three percent for both.
“Job creation plans remained weak, with a net four percent planning to increase employment, unchanged from September and 6 points below the August reading. Not seasonally adjusted, 10 percent plan to increase employment at their firm (unchanged), but 12 percent plan reductions (up 1 point). Not seasonally adjusted, hiring plans were strong only in the East South Central states.
“Overall, October job creation news is not the surprise that some may have been looking for.”