The Great Recession technically ended in summer 2009, as the economy rebounded and started to expand. Since the trough of the financial meltdown, unemployment and consumer confidence levels have improved. However, small business optimism indicates the recovery is still sluggish at best.
The National Federation of Independent Business, the leading nonprofit small business association representing small and independent businesses, reported that its Small Business Optimism Index edged slightly higher, to 94.3, at the beginning of the year, compared to 94.1 in December. At the beginning of 2013, the index posted a reading of only 88.9. The pre-recession average of the index is 100.
“Employment starts 2014 over a million below its peak in January 2008 and prospects for a major recovery in jobs are not good,” said NFIB chief economist Bill Dunkelberg. “NFIB labor market indicators have recently seen a return to normal (but not expansion) levels, encouraging in that reversals are now less likely. The average increase in workers per firm has also risen in recent quarters, indicating new job creation. However, there are far fewer firms hiring workers than there were in 2007 and many of those still in existence have downsized.”