Small Businesses: Washington Is Floundering, Economy Following Suit

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Despite an economy that is sluggish at best, small businesses across the nation felt more optimistic last month. However, they are still cautious when it comes to increasing employment or making capital outlays, as government policies remain as a major hurdle.

The National Federation of Independent Business, the leading nonprofit small business association representing small and independent businesses, reported that its Small Business Optimism Index increased 2 points from February to 93.4 in March, essentially reversing the decline seen earlier this year. At the beginning of 2013, the index posted a reading of only 88.9. The pre-recession average of the index is 100.

“While the Index still can’t seem to get above 95, we can be encouraged that the economy is at least crawling forward and not heading in reverse,” said NFIB chief economist Bill Dunkelberg. “The outlook for real sales gains accounted for about half of the improvement with inventory satisfaction and inventory investment plans accounting for most of the rest. However, throughout this recovery we’ve seen these types of increases only to have them go nowhere. As long as Washington continues to ignore policies that could restore the middle class, job creation will continue to be sub-par.”