"Economists are pessimists: they've predicted 8 of the last 3 depressions."
--Barry Asmus

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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index

This is a survey of members of the National Federation of Independent Business on topics including employment, capital spending, inventories, credit conditions, sales, and economic expectation.  The index is not a major market mover - odd, in my opinion, since small businesses employ a little more than 50% of all private sector workers and pay 44% of the total US private payroll.  They're a huge component of GDP, is what I'm saying, and you'd think this index would get more attention.
Anyway, February saw a 0.4 gain in the overall index, bringing it to a level of 94.5.  And for the month of March?  The press release shows a 2.6 decline for the month, bringing it down to a level of 91.9.  Drilling in to the report, we see a bearish attitude on increasing employment, expectations for the economy to improve, and earnings trends.  Positive expectations are seen in capital outlays plans and plans to increase inventories.

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