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Small-Business Owners Less Upbeat in March, Says NFIB

Wall Street Journal (04/14/15) Kathleen Madigan

The National Federation of Independent Business’ small-business optimism index declined to 95.2 in March from 98.0 in February. Economists polled by the Wall Street Journal had forecast a reading of 98.0. The index is at its lowest since June 2014 and is below its long-term average.

Small-business owners plan to do less hiring. The new-job creation subindex fell from 12% to 10%. Part of the weaker hiring number reflects an increase in recent hiring. The average increase in employees added per employer was 0.18 in March, which NFIB says was better than the “excellent” readings of 0.16 in January and February. The subindex for jobs that are difficult to fill declined from 29% to 24%. However, of those companies looking for employees, 84% said they are seeing few or no applicants who are qualified for open jobs.