Independent U.S. Shippers Not Out of the Woods Yet

According to the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) Small Business Optimism Index optimism remained at recessionary levels in December with just a half-point increase in the index over November

By ·

Last week we noted that retailers were expressing relief that the “fiscal cliff” had been avoided. The impact of such a threat, however, has yet to be measured. According to the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) Small Business Optimism Index optimism remained at recessionary levels in December with just a half-point increase in the index over November.

Furthermore, business owners continue to have low expectations about the future of the economy. Only three of the ten index components were down, but still, there were no major improvements in the remaining components.

Two of the down categories were related to employment conditions. The net percent of owners adding to their labor force in the last three months fell 1 point to -2%, and plans to hire in the next three months fell 4 points to a net 1%. Skepticism about future business conditions is likely behind the reading, as those reporting under-qualified applicants as an issue behind filling positions fell for a third consecutive month. 

Business owners continue to report growing inventories, however they are feeling more satisfied with their current levels than in November. A net -4% are planning to add to stocks in the next three to six months, a point higher than in November. Sales expectations for the next three months improved a bit to -2% from -5%.

The bottom line?

With no additional information on how the fiscal cliff would play out before the December reading, it was tough for small business owners to give a positive report on their sentiment.

Economists say that the small improvements here and there were not enough to boost the overall outlook. It is still tough to tell how small business owners will react in January since the resolution of the fiscal cliff.

IHS Global Insight believes that it is likely that many were not fully satisfied with the outcome.

About the Author

Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor
Patrick Burnson is executive editor for Logistics Management and Supply Chain Management Review magazines and web sites. Patrick is a widely-published writer and editor who has spent most of his career covering international trade, global logistics, and supply chain management. He lives and works in San Francisco, providing readers with a Pacific Rim perspective on industry trends and forecasts. You can reach him directly at [email protected]

Subscribe to Logistics Management Magazine!

Subscribe today. It's FREE!
Get timely insider information that you can use to better manage your entire logistics operation.
Start your FREE subscription today!

Article Topics

All Topics
Latest Whitepaper
Efficiency improvements in Track/Trace Enhances Customer Loyalty
Consumer satisfaction with the quality of your products is clearly important, but the service you provide before and after the sale is equally important to any business, but often overlooked as benefiting the bottom line.
Download Today!
From the October 2016 Issue
Over the past decade we’ve seen a major trend in regards to safety regulations for freight transport within the United States as well as for import and export shippers—that trend is the “international­ization” of rules and regulations.
European Logistics Update: Post-Brexit U.K. moving ahead, but in which direction?
Badcock Home Furniture &more: Out with paper, in with Cloud TMS
View More From this Issue
Subscribe to Our Email Newsletter
Sign up today to receive our FREE, weekly email newsletter!
Latest Webcast
How API Technology Connects the Transportation Economy
Dynamic decision making is made possible through accurate, actionable data. When combined with progress in data science and the Internet of Things, technology companies that add value to direct-to-carrier APIs and combine them with high-power data analytics will create new concepts for the information economy.
Register Today!
Motor Carrier Regulations Update: Caught in a Trap
The fed is hitting truckers with a barrage of costly regulations in an era of scant profits....
25th Annual Masters of Logistics
Indecision revolving around three complex supply chain elements—transportation, technology and...

2016 Quest for Quality: Winners Take the Spotlight
Which carriers, third-party logistics providers and U.S. ports have crossed the service-excellence...
Regional ports concentrate on growth and connectivity
With the Panama Canal expansion complete, ocean cargo gateways in the Caribbean are investing to...