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Small Business Optimism Increases

Wall Street Journal Online (02/14/12) Kathleen Madigan

The National Federation of Independent Business’s small-business optimism index rose 0.1 point to 93.9 in January from 93.8 in December, the fifth consecutive month that small-business owner confidence increased. However, the better sentiment has not translated into more jobs.

“Owners became less pessimistic about the outlook for business conditions and real sales growth, but that optimism did not show up in hiring or spending for more inventories,” according to NFIB. Weak labor markets have been a key drag on the economic outlook. NFIB says that its member firms had a zero net increase in workers per firm last month, running counter to the strong payrolls report released by the U.S. Labor Department on Feb. 3. “The NFIB data suggest that there will be some downward revision in the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers,” the NFIB report says.