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Small Business Optimism Falls for Fifth Month in a Row


September 8 — U.S. small business owners continued to sink deeper into gloom in August as they anticipated less real future sales growth and gauged improvement in business conditions less likely.

Those are among the findings of the most recent Small Business Optimism Index survey conducted by the National Federation of Small Business (NFIB).

The Index fell to 89.9 last month, a 0.9 point drop from July and the fifth consecutive monthly decline. The current reading is below the average Index reading of 90.2 for the last two-year recovery period, NFIB states.

The percent of owners citing poor sales as their top problem— the long-time primary complaint of firms— faded somewhat in August, and reports of sales trends were much better than a few months ago, according to NFIB. However, survey respondents anticipate slow growth for the rest of 2011, plus high unemployment rates and too-high inflation rates, an NFIB news release adds.

The net percent of all owners (seasonally adjusted) reporting higher nominal sales over the past three months lost one percentage point, falling to a net negative 8%. Currently, there are more firms with sales trending down than there are with sales trending up. However, this indicator is the third best reading in 42 months, reports NFIB.

The net percent of owners expecting better business conditions in six months was a negative 15%, down 4 points vs. July and 25% lower than in January, says NFIB.

Read the news release.

Download the complete report here.