Survey: U.S. Small Business Confidence Climbs to Highest Level in Three Years

Confidence among U.S. small companies rose in February to the highest level in three years as hiring and sales expectations increased, a new survey shows. The National Federation of Independent Business’s optimism index climbed to 94.5, the highest since the recession began in December 2007, the Washington-based group says in a statement. The new reading compares with the average 100.7 during the previous expansion that started in November 2001.

“The future is looking brighter for a few more small-business owners,” William Dunkelberg, the  group’s chief economist, said in the statement. Still, he adds, “this is not a reading that characterizes a strongly rebounding economy.”

Figures on employment also turned more optimistic. Small businesses with plans to add to payrolls rose 2 points to a net 5 percent. A net 15 percent of firms in the February survey said they were having trouble filling job openings, the highest level since September 2008.

February’s report also signaled the “end of a long period of price cutting,” the NFIB said, without providing specific numbers. “This signals a return in the months ahead to increases in average prices as supply adjustments restore pricing power.”

The complete story can be found HERE.