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Small-business optimism stagnates in January

By Rick Seltzer


Optimism remained virtually flat among small-business owners in January, according to the latest monthly survey from the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB).

The NFIB’s monthly Small Business Optimism Index crept up just 0.1 point in January to 93.9. Technically the index rose for the fifth straight month, although this month’s movement is minimal when compared to December, when the index rose 1.8 points to 93.8.

Business owners took a brighter view of future real sales and business conditions in January. A higher number of owners in the latest survey expected better sales and business conditions in the coming months than in the previous survey.

Overall though, business owners expecting worse conditions in the next six months still outnumbered the optimists, according to the survey.

The new survey also found owners expect to cut back on their plans to increase hiring and inventories in the coming months.

New York small-business owners are indicating that their feelings are similar to those expressed in the national sample that makes up NFIB’s optimism index, according to the organization’s New York State director, Mike Durant.

“Tax rates in New York have stabilized, but the debate in Washington over higher taxes keeps raging on,” Durant said in a news release. “Until Washington gets its act together on taxes, regulations, and the federal debt, small-business owners in New York will remain cautious.”

NFIB randomly surveyed more than 2,100 members in January to calculate the optimism index.

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