August logged the second-best Small Business Optimism Index since October 2007, but the modest uptick was characterized as “glum” as business owners remain uncertain about immediate growth prospects.
The monthly index from the National Federation of Independent Businesses rose 0.4 points to 96.1.The survey of NFIB members started in 1986 with a baseline of 100, and serves as a steady barometer of the nation’s small-business outlook.
“Expectations are still glum, although improving grudgingly,” said NFIB chief economist Bill Dunkelberg. “There is so much ‘noise’ and uncertainty in the economic system that small business owners are finding it difficult to be optimistic in this environment.”
Regulation and taxes continue to be concerns, but sales growth is at the heart of the wait-and-see attitude. Thirteen percent of small business owners cited weak sales as their top business problem.
“The good news, no recession signal,” said Dunkelberg. “The bad news, no expansion signal.”
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