NFIB: Shutdown May Continue to Hurt Small Business Employment


Despite the partial government shutdown, small businesses picked up hiring in October, according to an NFIB gauge.

According to the NFIB’s October jobs report, its members added an average of 0.11 workers per firm in October. Over the past few months, 12% of business owners added an average of 3.5 workers per firm. Meanwhile, workforce reductions took a dip last month: 9% of NFIB members reduced employment, down two points since September.

Despite the good news, expectations about future hiring were down in October.

“Hiring plans fell four points,” says NFIB spokesperson Holly Wade, who says business owners are expressing more caution. “There’s positives in actual employment changes improving a bit [in October], but it doesn’t look like it will carry forward.”

NFIB chief economist Bill Dunkelberg says the shutdown drama has likely had a negative effect on business owners’ perspectives.

“Expected real sales tanked, and if they didn’t think sales were going to go up, I’m not surprised to see a four-point drop in the percentage of owners who plan to create new jobs,” says Dunkelberg.

Given that October marks the 40th year that the NFIB has been collecting data on small businesses, Dunkelberg says it’s a good time to compare October’s results to historical trends.

“We have good perspective – it would look better than this if we were in an expansion,” says Dunkelberg, who says there’s overall less interest in creating jobs and hiring right now.