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February Finds Optimism Decreasing Among Small Business Owners

Written by Ken Gaebler
Published: 3/9/2010

According to the National Federation of Independent Business, small firms are skeptical of signs of economic growth.

The National Federation of Independent Business recently released its Index of Small Business Optimism for February, and results paint a picture of continued ambivalence in spite of of positive economic news. For small businesses, hardship and uncertainty persist.

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The index ended up back where it was in December 2009 - down 1.3 points to 88 percent. The NFIB blames the decline partially on the federal government's policies regarding small businesses.

Though the Obama administration has focused on job creation, business owners point out that sales are low, meaning that even with federal incentives, it is impossible to hire new workers. Nearly 20 percent of small businesses reduced employment by more than 3 workers, and 8 percent expect to reduce staff during 2010.

"Net job creation will appear in the coming months, but the gains will be painfully slow with timid consumer spending, especially in the service sector," said NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg.

However, the most recent Intuit Small Business Employment Index showed different results. Focused on firms with fewer than 20 employees - constituting 87 percent of the American private employer base - the index found that employment grew at an annual rate of 1.1 percent over the past eight months.

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