Small Business Optimism Rising, Consumer Outlook Not

The National Federation of Independent Business’ (NFIB) Small Business Optimism Survey shows its third highest reading since 2007 in February, rising 0.1 points to 98. The index's level is giving some economists reason for optimism despite slow economic activity and poor weather conditions across the country.

“Small business owners are finding reasons to hire and spend, which is great news,” said NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg. “Large firms have been powering the economic recovery since the Great Recession, but that may be shifting to the small business sector. February’s data suggests there are fundamental domestic economic currents leading business owners to add workers and these should bubble up in the official statistics and support stronger growth in domestic output.”

However, Gallup’s U.S. Economic Confidence Index, also released this week, registered a -3 for the week ending on March 8. Most respondents believe the economy is worsening, though the index illustrates that overall sentiment is closer to neutral than significantly negative.

- Jennifer Lehman, NACM marketing and communications associate

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