Small-Business Confidence Reaches Highest Point Since December 2004

Confidence among small-business, in the upswing since the election, in January reached its highest point in more than a decade, according to the National Federal of Independent Business. 

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The National Federation of Independent Business’s small-business optimism index edged up to 105.9 in January, the highest point since December 2004 and follows December’s largest month-over-month increase in the survey’s history. Meanwhile, economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal projected the index to decline slightly to 104.8. 

“Small business owners like what they see so far from Washington,” NFIB Chief Executive Juanita Duggan said. 

The NFIB survey is a monthly snapshot of small businesses in the U.S., which account for most private-sector jobs and about half of the country’s economic output. 

Economists look to the report for a read on domestic demand and to extrapolate hiring and wage trends in the broader economy. 

The January survey is based on 1,874 responses. 

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The Conference Board’s consumer-confidence index fell to 111.8 in January. Meanwhile, the University of Michigan’s edged up to 98.5 in January but fell to 95.7 in February, based on a preliminary reading. 

The NFIB — a conservative-leaning small-business lobby based in Washington, D.C. — said that while recent trends look much like the surge in 1983, which was followed by 7 years of gross domestic product

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