NFIB Releases Small Business Industry-Specific Report

The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) Research Center released the quarterly Small Business Economic Trends industry report, highlighting the construction, manufacturing, retail, and services industries.

“Small businesses in every industry are facing challenges like the staffing shortages and supply chain disruptions, which is impacting owners’ optimism,” said Holly Wade, Executive Director of NFIB’s Research Center. “Owners are working hard to attract the right workers to their open positions and meet the demands of their customers.”

Key findings include:


  • The Optimism Index in October was 99.8 in the construction industry, up 0.9 points from July’s quarterly report and higher than the overall Optimism Index by 1.6 points.
  • Small business owners in construction had the highest percentage of unfilled job openings among all industries at 62 percent, up one point from July.
  • Fifty-nine percent of the job openings in the construction industry are for skilled workers, unchanged from last quarter.
  • Sixty-five percent of construction firms reported few or no qualified applicants.
  • Sixty-six percent of construction firms reported raising prices in October.
  • Despite the rise in prices to cover the increased cost of materials, earnings trends in construction rose three points from the previous quarter to a net negative 19 percent.


  • The Optimism Index in October was 101.8 in the manufacturing industry, down from 105.2 in July and 3.6 points above the overall Optimism Index.
  • Fifty-seven percent of firms reported unfilled job openings, second only to the construction industry and eight percentage points higher than the overall.
  • A net 41 percent of firms plan to create new jobs in the next three months, unchanged from July and 15 percentage points higher than the overall small business economy.
  • Future sales expectations declined 16 points in October from July’s quarterly report.
  • A net negative 7 percent of manufacturing owners expect higher sales in the next three months, compared to 0 percent overall.

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