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A “cruel summer” for small biz jobs growth

NFIB Job Creation Plans ChartNews headlines are trumpeting the Labor Department's report this morning of a better-than-expected increase in hiring nationally in July, but the National Federation of Independent Business has issued a grim report on small employers and job growth based on its latest monthly random survey of 1,803 NFIB members.

U.S. employers overall added 163,000 jobs in July—the biggest monthly uptick in five months. But small businesses eliminated jobs for a second month in a row "at a time when growth is needed," NFIB Chief Economist William Dunkelberg reported in a statement. The NFIB survey results indicated a net job loss per small firm over the past few months (seasonally adjusted) of .04. "Readings had been on the rise; from December to May they were zero or positive, suggesting that employment might be turning around. But June, and now July, have ended that possibility," Dunkelberg stated.

To be sure, nearly 80 percent of small business owners surveyed made no net change to employment in July, and 38 percent reported few or no qualified applicants for open positions. Ten percent of small businesses surveyed even succeeded in adding an average of 3 workers per firm over the past few months. But 11 percent cut an average of 2.3 jobs, resulting in no meaningful job creation overall, according to NFIB data.

"On balance, July looks like a repeat of June, few jobs and no change in the unemployment rate," Dunkelberg stated. "So far, it has turned out to be a cruel summer of dashed hopes for meaningful job creation."

The NFIB's complete economic survey for the month of July will be issued later this month.

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