Saturday, November 18, 2017

Small Businesses on Taxes and Labor -- AND -- The State of the U.S. Labor Market

Three of the seventy-three inputs to our macro analysis have to do with the results of the monthly NFIB Small Business Survey. We track the headline number, hiring plans and capex (expansion) plans. While we don't score the stated concerns of the employers of 2/3rds of all Americans, we find them to be interesting and instructive. 

Here's from the October survey:     click any insert to enlarge...

Source: Bespoke Investment Group

As you can see, small business owners are feeling a bit better of late with regard to regulation (red tape). Taxes, however, remain chief among their concerns. Notice that quality of labor is also a major concern.

Speaking of labor, here's our chart that tracks small business hiring plans, which currently reads at a height not seen in over a decade:

In terms of total jobs available throughout the U.S. economy, here's from the October Job Openings and Labor Turnover (JOLTS) report:

Folks, don't buy the rhetoric that this country has a jobs crisis; it unequivocally does not! In fact, quite the opposite; we're experiencing historically low unemployment and historically high job opportunities. What we need, actually, is of course a better educated workforce and, frankly, more workers (immigration, in economic terms, is an unambiguously good thing!)

As for taxes, we've remained relatively quiet on the topic of tax reform as the debate rages. We'll of course go there when/if they get something signed. We will say that, as a California business (and as California residents), we're not crazy about some of what's been proposed thus far.

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