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Small Business Optimism Continues to Improve


March 8 — Optimism among the owners of small businesses grew in February, rising to its highest level since December 2007, according to a monthly survey by the National Federation of Independent Business.

The NFIB Index of Small Business Optimism gained 0.4 points in February to 94.5, its second consecutive monthly gain. One year ago the Index was 88.0.

The Index is based on ten survey indicators. Last month, seven components rose or remained unchanged while three declined, but all the changes in either direction were small, reported NFIB.

Hiring and future plans to hire were solid, although remaining historically weak, said an NFIB news release. "Weak sales" remained the top business problem among the most respondents. A net 9% of small business owners surveyed expect that business conditions will improve over the next six months.

"This is not a reading that characterizes a strongly rebounding economy," said NFIB chief economist Bill Dunkelberg. "But it is the third best reading since the fourth quarter of 2009 (89.1) when the economy was expanding rapidly. So, it gives us cause for some real optimism."

Download the full NFIB report.