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After Six Months of Increases, Small-Business Optimism Drops for Main Street

NFIB Small-Business News (04/10/12)

The National Federation of Independent Business’ Small-Business Optimism Index dropped nearly two points to 92.5 in March, with nine of 10 index components—including hiring—posting declines. However, the job creation component of the index was the one bright spot, with 10% of small-business owners surveyed adding 3.1 workers per firm on average during the past few months on a seasonally adjusted basis. About 44% of respondents hired or attempted to hire workers, but 32% said there were few or no qualified applicants. Although actual hiring figures indicated that March was the best job creation month in a year, there are concerns about weakness in the job market given that the percentage of owners with hard-to-fill job openings and those expecting to boost the number of employees decreased.