Survey: Small Business Optimism Rises

Find Out Just How Much Optimism Rose

Buoyed by better sales and profits, optimism among small business owners increased in April, according to a just-released survey. The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) reported last week that its optimism index rose two points last month to 94.5. After a dip in March, the index is back to its February level.

William Dunkelberg, the federation's chief economist, reported that plans to hire increased in April, as did sales and profits. Still, Dunkelberg called the 94.5 reading weak, and said many business owners are still wary about their prospects because of downbeat economic news coming from Washington and Europe, where a debt crisis has left a cloud of uncertainty.

"Most likely there will be only small improvements on Main Street in optimism or hiring and spending this year," Dunkelberg says.

The study was conducted by surveying the outlooks of 1,817 small-business owners in the first week of May.