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Merchants Hesitantly Anticipating Recovery

Written by Ken Gaebler
Published: 3/12/2010

The economic climate remains uncertain for most merchants.

Though economic conditions haven't been getting worse in the past couple months, sentiments are decidedly mixed regarding small business finance. News both good and bad has been met with skepticism and restraint from most business owners, according to a recent survey.

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The data comes from MerchantCircle, a social network of local business owners. Its second quarterly Merchant Confidence Index survey draws on information from 12,000 local merchants.

About 40 percent of respondents believed the economy is weaker today than it had been over the past 12 months, though 30 percent said it was about the same. Regardless, nearly half expect sales revenues to improve in the next three months, and there are more businesses expecting to add to their staff and less expecting to reduce their staff in the next three months than there were in the last index.

"Many of these signs point toward a healthier small business environment in 2010, and we’re hopeful the macro economic climate can support that direction," says MerchantCircle vice president of marketing Darren Waddell.

The National Federation of Independent Business' Optimism Index decreased this month, which the NFIB attributes to growing dissatisfaction over the Obama administration's approach to economic stimulus.

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