There's a lot of pessimism in the latest National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) Small Business Optimism Report. The June findings, released July 13 and reported by Bloomberg, found this:

Fifty-six percent reported hiring or trying to hire (unchanged), but 48% reported few or no qualified applicants for the positions they were trying to fill. Fifteen percent of owners cited the difficulty of finding qualified workers as their single most important business problem.

Twenty-nine percent of all owners reported job openings they could not fill in the current period, up 2 points from May and the highest reading since the economy resumed expanding, NFIB said. Twelve percent reported using temporary workers, down 3 points from May.

"Somewhat surprisingly, faced with this labor shortage, only a net 14% of owners indicated that they planned to hike employee pay, with the balance of opinion down slightly from May's report," NFIB added.

The overral Index of Small Business Optimism increased 0.7 points to 94.5. NFIB noted that that's still well below the 40-year average of 98, but the third monthly gain in a row.

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