Small business optimism rises

A monthly index tracking optimism among small business owners continues to increase on more upbeat expectations for improving conditions and increased sales.

The National Federation of Independent Business reported that its Small Business Optimism Index advanced 1.8 points in December to 93.8. With gains in each of the last four months, the index has climbed a total of 5.7 points.

Bill Dunkelberg, chief economist for the NFIB, warned, however, that similar gains early in 2011 faded and the index remains below typical readings for this point in the economic recovery. “There is still a lot of work to be done.”

For December, component readings moved higher for expectations of improving conditions, sales, earnings, expansions and increased inventories.