The report also made these
Sales trends remain overwhelmingly negative for small
employers, with still more owners reporting declining sales
than experiencing positive sales trends
Job creation was positive in January, but ever-so-slight.
Overall, 11 percent of surveyed owners (unchanged) reported
adding over the past few months, and nine percent reduced
employment (down 4 points), seasonally adjusted. But the
vast majority—the remaining 80 percent of owners—made no net
change in employment.
The pace of inventory reduction continued in January, with a
net negative seven percent of all owners reporting growth in
inventories (seasonally adjusted), 3 points better than
December, but still more owners reducing stocks than adding
The frequency of reported capital outlays over the past six
months rose 3 points to 55 percent. Of those making
expenditures, 39 percent of owners reported spending on new
equipment (up 3 points), 21 percent acquired vehicles (up 3
points), and 12 percent improved or expanded facilities
(down 1 point). Five percent acquired new buildings or land
for expansion (down 1 point) and 11 percent spent money for
new fixtures and furniture (unchanged). Overall, there was
no sign that capital spending might be returning to levels
more consistent with past recovery periods.