After several months on the rise, the small business optimism index fell in July for the second straight month to a level of 91.2, according to a study by the National Federation of Independent Business.
The small business optimism index has remained between 86.5 and 94.5 since the declared end of the recession in June 2009, averaging 90, “making this the worst recovery period from a recession in the NFIB survey history.”
“Congress has recessed without a plan to resolve our calamitous debt/spending cycle or a lasting answer to our dangerous fiscal cliff,” NFIB chief economist William Dunkelberg said. “Meanwhile, the White House has presented us with some ‘fuzzy math,’ asserting that only three percent of small businesses will be impacted by planned tax increases. That’s not true.”
Owners cited taxes and business regulation as the single most important problem facing their business. Previously, the main problem was sales.
“The lack of meaningful actions to address tax reform in Washington adds to the certainty of sluggish growth for the remainder of 2012, and the uncertainty of what will come in 2013.”
A majority of business owners made no change in employment during July. Ten percent of the owners hired an average of 3.0 workers per firm over the past three months, while 11 percent laid off an average of 2.3.
“Overall,” the study concluded, “there was no meaningful job creation beyond that which population growth itself tends to create.”
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