William C. Dunkelberg, chief economist for the National Federation of Independent Business, the nation’s leading small business organization, issued the following statement on February job numbers based on NFIB’s monthly economic survey.

“There was a decline in average employment per firm of 1.0 workers reported for the past three months by small business owners in February, the largest decline in survey history.

“However, 11 percent reported unfilled job openings, unchanged from February and a positive sign going forward. Job openings are a significant predictor of the unemployment rate. Over the next three months, 13 percent plan to create new jobs (up four points), and 10 percent plan workforce reductions (down four points), yielding a seasonally adjusted net-negative 3 percent of owners planning to create new jobs, three points better than January but still historically very low.

“Not seasonally adjusted, job-creation plans were positive in all industry groups except manufacturing. It looks like the service sector may be finding its legs. Of the nine census regions, job-creation plans turned positive in all census regions except the East South Central and South Atlantic states.

“By year end, growth should be positive again, perhaps as strong as a 4 percent annual rate. Large pools of pent-up demand are forming and will soon begin to be transformed into actual spending.”

Photo by Saad.Akhtar.

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