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Checking Up on Optimism Or Should We Say Down

Mark Marich

Optimist Smiley

Wi/pth a couple of new surveys out from NFIB and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, it’s time to check in again on just how optimistic entrepreneurs and small business owners are.

Each quarter, the Chamber tracks the outlook of entrepreneurs and small business owners on their businesses, the local economy and the U.S. economy. In the latest survey, overwhelmingly, they think the national economy is not headed in the right direction. However, the numbers improve as the focus narrows to the local economy (47% said it was on the right track) and their own business (68%). Unfortunately, that may not translate to more jobs though as only 20% thought they would add employees in the year ahead.

Things don’t look any better from the National Federation of Independent Businesses. The latest NFIB Small Business Optimism Index dropped 3 points and rolled back nearly all gains made since October 2011. Only half of the respondents reported capital outlays over the past six months, while an increasing number (25%) expect a deterioration in business conditions. What about jobs? While 44% hired or tried to hire in the last three months, 79% did not make any net change in employment.

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