NFIB: Another small miss and some poor nominal trends

The August NFIB survey fitted in with other industry-side surveys from both manufacturing and services sectors. Current job openings rose quite strong mirroring the Job Openings survey, but it is unclear how meaningful these indicators are.

Increased ease of advertising openings may mean there is a secular change occurring in the job search market. It may mean that strong secular change within employment as tech employees are more needed than ever but are hard to find at any price.

That said the trend probably means most of all that there is just not enough money or sales to bid up wages for new employees, especially as the wages for existing employees will be as downwardly stick as ever – in nominal terms. The Fed has so squeezed nominal growth out of the economy that it is very hard for businesses squeezed by weak nominal sales to reallocate expenses.

The more closely-watched “Plans to Increase Employment” trend has clearly turned down despite the higher rate of job openings. Political uncertainty is rising quickly as a reason not to expand.

The (nominal) sales chart going back to 1986 makes for grim reading, trending down from an already depressed level. It illustrates well the squeeze on nominal growth.



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