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Small business optimism dips in March, halts six-month climb

By Rick Seltzer


Small business owners soured on their prospects for the future during March, according to a monthly survey conducted by the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB).

NFIB’s Small Business Optimism Index dipped 1.8 points to 92.5 in March, ending six consecutive months of increases. The index remains higher than the 88.1 it notched in August of last year, the month before it started its six-month rise.

“There’s no real commitment in the recovery,” NFIB New York State Director Mike Durant said in a news release. “It’s still a very soft economy, and small business owners are unwilling to take risks, either in new workers or capital improvements, until they feel better about the direction.”

March saw small business leaders slash plans for future hiring and pull back slightly from plans to increase capital expenditures, according to the NFIB.

Just one of the 10 components that make up the optimism index increased in March — satisfaction with current inventories, which edged up 1 percentage point to show a seasonally adjusted net 3 percent of survey respondents who were satisfied with their inventories.

The NFIB randomly sampled 757 of its members in March to develop the index.

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