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Optimism remains low in December among small-business owners

By Journal Staff


Clouds failed to part in December for small-business leaders, according to the Small Business Optimism Index from the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB).

The index, which the NFIB released this morning, rose half a point to 88. It failed to recover from a 5.6-point drop in November, posting its second-lowest reading since March of 2010 in the process.

Crumbling plans to hire held the index back in December. A seasonally adjusted net 1 percent of business owners said they planned to hire in the next three months, a drop of four points.

That decrease helped drown out a slight improvement in the portion of business owners who judged this to be a time for expansion. Seasonally adjusted, 8 percent of owners called the next three months a good time to expand, two points higher than last month.

“Congress played chicken right up to the end of the year, leaving small-business owners with no new information about the economy’s future — no sense of how much their taxes would increase or if the economy would go over the now infamous cliff,” NFIB Chief Economist William Dunkelberg said in a news release.

The NFIB, a nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C. with members in the District of Columbia and all 50 states, randomly surveyed 648 of its members in December to develop its national optimism index.


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