The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) reported that small business owner sentiment moved higher last month. The Small Business Optimism Index rose from 89.5 in March to 92.1 in April, its highest level in six months. As you might expect, an improved sales outlook helped to lift these figures, with the net percentage of respondents expecting higher sales increasing from -4 percent to +4 percent. In addition, small businesses appear to be more willing to increase hiring, as well, with the net percentage planning to hire in the next three months rising from zero in March to 6 percent in April.
This does not mean, however, that small businesses have moved beyond their challenges. Keep in mind that small businesses are said to be growing strongly when the Optimism Index exceeds 100, so we are still quite a way from that. Indeed, the net percentage of business owners saying that the next three months were a “good time to expand” was unchanged at four percent. As with past reports, the top reasons cited for it not being a good time to expand were economic uncertainties and the political climate. (continue reading…)