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Economy in Brief

Small Business Optimism Held Low, Credit Problems Eased
by Tom Moeller November 13, 2007

Small business optimism rose by 1.1% last month and reversed all of its September increase. Nevertheless, the level remained near the lows of this past Summer, according to the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB).

During the last ten years there has been a 70% correlation between the level of the NFIB index and the two quarter change in real GDP.

The percentage of firms indicating that credit was more difficult to get reversed all of the September increase, though it remained in an uptrend.

Respondents expecting the economy to improve fell and remained in the low range of the last year. During the last ten years there has been a 72% correlation between the NFIB percentage and the y/y change in nonfarm payrolls.

The percent planning to raise capital expenditures fell to near the lows of this cycle and the percentage planning to raise employment fell sharply m/m to the lowest level since last December.

The percentage of firms indicating that inventories were too low fell to the current cycle's low..The percentage of firms planning to raise average selling prices remained low as did the percentage of firms actually raising prices, though the latter rose m/m. During the last ten years there has been a 60% correlation between the change in the producer price index and the level of the NFIB price index.

About 24 million businesses exist in the United States. Small business creates 80% of all new jobs in America.

Nat'l Federation of Independent Business October September Y/Y 2006 2005 2004
Small Business Optimism Index (1986=100) 96.2 97.3 -4.5% 98.9 101.6 104.6
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