Small-Business Optimism Rises In January

Optimism Index Jumped To 88.9 Last Month

Small-Business Optimism Rises In JanuaryOptimism among small-business owners increased for the second straight month in January, according to a survey released by the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB). The NFIB's optimism index jumped to 88.9 last month from 88 in December, despite uncertainty about long-term economic health.

"The fourth-quarter decline in GDP was not a confidence builder," said William Dunkelberg, chief economist for NFIB. "Business investment and housing looked OK. Consumer spending, especially on non-durables, was not strong."

Seven of the 10 components measured by the NFIB improved in January, following an eleventh hour Congressional deal that prevented even higher taxes from being imposed in 2013. While business owners are collectively feeling better than they did in November, when the NFIB index fell to its lowest level since 2010, they still remain concerned about slow growth.

About 20% of survey respondents claim weak sales are their top problem, and only 25% believe their revenues will go up during the next quarter. Health care remains another worry for small-business owners, with many hesitant to hire more employees until they fully understand the impact of the Affordable Care Act, according to the NFIB.