WASHINGTON (9/10/14)--Small-business confidence climbed to its second-highest point since 2007, the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB) reported in its monthly survey Tuesday.
Rising by 0.4 to 96.1, the reading is the second straight monthly gain since June's 1.6-point drop (Economy.com Sept. 9).
Further, Newtek Business Services Inc. reported this week it has seen increasing levels of economic output from small businesses, citing that its Small Business Authority index has risen nearly 7% year-over-year. Newtek is a CUNA Strategic Services alliance provider.
"The small business economy seems to be picking up a little bit of steam, despite a lack of robust growth in new employment hires," said Barry Sloane, Newtek president/CEO and chairman. "The low-interest rate environment continues to make the financing market for equity and debt fertile, as well as encourages consumers to spend instead of save."
Only 3% of small-business owners said they believed the economy would worsen in the next six months in August, a drop from the 6% who felt that way in July, according to the NFIB survey.
A net 10% of small businesses said they plan to hire new workers in the next three to six months, slightly down from July. But 22% said they have upped employee compensation, just shy of a post-recession high, Moody's said.
A net 15% reported plans to raise compensation further over the next few months as well.
"Pay raises have been conspicuously absent thus far in the recovery as slack was wound up in the labor market," said Nate Kelley, Moody's analyst (Economy.com). "Not only would higher pay add some much-needed fuel to the consumer spending engine that drives economic growth, but it would also draw workers back into the job market."