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NFIB: After February’s Decline, Confidence Up in March

NFIB News Release (04/08/14)

The latest National Federation of Independent Business Small Business Optimism Index rose two points to 93.4, mostly reversing the February decline but failing once again to breach the 95.0 ceiling that has capped the index during the economic recovery.

NFIB owners increased employment by an average of 0.18 workers per firm in March (seasonally adjusted), an improvement over February’s 0.11 reading and the sixth positive reading in a row. Seventy-seven percent of owners made no net change in employment. Forty-nine percent of owners hired or tried to hire in the last three months, and 41% said there were few or no qualified applicants for open positions.

Twenty-two percent of owners reported job openings they could not fill in the current period, unchanged from February. Thirteen percent reported using temporary workers, also unchanged. Job creation plans softened further in February, falling two percentage points to a seasonally adjusted net 5%, compared with 12% in January.