Small Businesses Struggling, Not Hiring: NFIB

Tuesday, 10 May 2011 | 2:58 PM ET

Small businesses are not hiring, despite what last week's Labor Department employment report may show, according to a National Federation of Independent Business survey.

Chief Economist William Dunkelberg told CNBC Tuesday the survey of 1,985 small businesses found NFIB's optimism index dropped to 91.2 in April.

Optimism is down because of economic uncertainty, he said. McDonald's may be hiring, but smaller companies are struggling.

"It's a very bifurcated economy. Everything's great if you're Caterpillar, if you're exporting, if you're doing all that kind of manufacturing stuff...That's great. But if you're a small firm out in Smallville, USA, it's not happening out there yet," he said.

NFIB Optimism Index
The latest read on small business optimism, with William Dunkelberg, National Federation of Independent Business chief economist.

The survey found the biggest problem, affecting one in four NFIB members, is weak sales.

"You do see profits for the big firms, but we still have far more firms telling us profits are on the downtrend rather than an uptrend. So we're not seeing [profits] on Main Street," Dunkelberg said.

Consumer spending hasn't helped small businesses, and until it does "our people aren't going to hire."

The survey found the number of members expecting better business conditions in six months fell three points to negative 8 percent in April while 12 percent reported raising average selling prices, a three-point gain from March.

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