WASHINGTON (MNI) – The following is a statement Thursday by the
Chief Economist for the National Federation of Independent Business
William Dunkelberg, on September’s small business jobs numbers, based
on NFIB’s monthly economic survey that will be released on October 9,

“The last small-business jobs report before the election is not a
good one. Indeed, September’s reading was even worse than the two
previous months, with the reported net change in employment per firm
(seasonally adjusted) down 0.23. But it isn’t any wonder that small
firms are not hiring; given the tenuous political and economic
atmosphere, owners are right to remain pessimistic about the future.
They have been given little reason to increase their employment rolls.

“There are still four million fewer people employed today than in
the first quarter of 2008. The population grows about one percent
annually, which seems to account for about all the job growth we are
getting. To further depress employment growth, consumer spending has
barely advanced this year.

“Seasonally adjusted, 10 percent of the owners reported adding an
average of 2.2 workers per firm over the past few months, and 13 percent
reduced employment an average of 3 workers. The remaining 77 percent of
owners made no net change in employment. Fifty-one (51) percent of the
owners hired or tried to hire in the last three months and 41 percent
(80 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 1
point to 17 percent of all owners. Not seasonally adjusted, 10 percent
plan to increase employment at their firm (down 3 points), and 11
percent plan reductions (up 2 points). Seasonally adjusted, the net
percent of owners planning to create new jobs fell 6 points to four
percent, a historically weak reading, especially in a recovery.

“Regionally, the only region of the country that saw any positive
job growth was the West North Central states, largely because of energy

“Overall, another weak report for small-business job creation says
nothing good about our future economic prospects. Winter is likely to
set in early.”

** MNI Washington Bureau: 202-371-2121 **