There’s Light Ahead

Laos Angeles
…Or Maybe The Tunnel’s Getting Shorter

 

Holiday greetings, small business owner! Are you feeling a little lift of the spirits, a bit of holiday cheer, even a ray of hope for the future? Well, it’s not sugar overload from the Christmas cookies, and you’re not alone. There’s a raft of evidence that small and medium businesses already see some signs of improvement in the economic climate—enough to raise expectations for better times in 2012.

“After so many months of pessimism, November’s modest gain made it feel like spring again,” said Bill Dunkelberg, chief economist of the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB).

The NFIB Index, based on a survey of its members, shows  optimism rising for a third consecutive month in November. It’s still at a “weak” level—as it has been throughout 2011--but 8 out of 10 index components improved or did not change from the previous month’s reading. There also were notable increases in expectations for “real sales gains,” and in the outlook for business conditions six months from now.

Few small businesses will be sorry to see the end of 2011. Researchers for the Small Business Administration found that 61% of small businesses faced economic hardships in 2011, and 50% failed to meet their business goals for the year.

But 40% say they feel “optimistic” or “very optimistic” about their business prospects in the year ahead.

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