Small Business Owners Stubbornly Cautious
One index that PDE has tracked over the years is the Small Business Optimism Index put out by the National Federation of Independent Business. For the last few years, there hasn't been much reason for celebration -- and that trend continues with the latest Index showing a further dip of 0.6 points in December.
“Overall, owners remain stubbornly cautious and uncertain about the future course of the economy and their business prospects," said William C. Dunkelberg, chief economist for the National Federation of Independent Business.
The latest report blames the continued malaise -- December was the 36th month of recessionary scores -- on weak sales (55%) holding down hiring and capital spending. Other reasons cited included higher taxes and regulatory costs, higher materials costs, rising labor costs and lower selling prices.
However, not everything pointed to doom and gloom. An increasing number (13%) reported unfilled job openings, suggesting that a lower unemployment rate could be around the corner.