Small Business Optimism Up Again for December, NFIB Says

Optimism among small business owners expecting higher sales and an improving economy in 2012 rose 1.8 points in December, the fourth consecutive monthly increase, according to the index from the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB).
The small gain settled the December index reading at 93.8.
While the index has gained 5.7 points over the last four months, the total reading is still in recession territory.
It remains 6 points below the pre-recession average, and more than 10 points below the same point in the recovery from the 2001 recession.
Small business owners expect economic growth will pick up in 2012, but nothing dramatic. The level of the Index is consistent with weak growth, the NFIB said.
“Much of December’s gain resulted from the fact that concerns about business conditions over the next six months have subsided and because many small-business owners have improved their expectations for real sales gains in the coming months,” said NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg. “But make no mistake: the economic winter is still here.”
Dunkelberg points out that similar gains in the index in early 2011 quickly faded, and the “index still well below where it should be at this point in the recovery.”
The index is based on the responses of 725 randomly sampled small businesses in NFIB’s membership, surveyed throughout the month of December.

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