The National Federation of Independent Business announced its Small Business Optimism Index increased 1.4 points to 96.6 last month, the highest reading since September 2007, when the economy was about to slide into recession. The index has increased for three consecutive months.
The confidence increase also seems to be factoring into pricing decisions. “Price hikes are more widespread than at any time since 2008 (with the exception of a brief period in 2011) and profit trends are improving a bit,” the report said.
Seasonally adjusted, the net percentage of owners that have raised their selling prices held at 12%. In addition, a net 21% plan price hikes in the next few months. “If successful, the economy will see a bit more ‘inflation’ as the price indices seem to be suggesting,” the report said.
Small business owners also increased seasonally adjusted employment by an average 0.11 workers per firm in May. That was the eighth consecutive positive reading–the best string of monthly gains since 2006, the NFIB said.
The job creation plan subindex rose 2 points to 10% in May. The index covering job openings remained at the highest level in this expansion, and a net 24% of owners reporting that they face difficulties in filling certain positions.