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U.S. Small-Business Optimism Climbs to Highest in Seven Months

June 11, 2019 / Reade Pickert

Optimism among small U.S. businesses rose to a seven-month high in May as companies increased capital spending plans, suggesting firms remain confident economic growth will continue. The National Federation of Independent Business optimism index increased 1.5 points to 105 on more upbeat views of the economy, employment, capital outlays and sales, a report showed Tuesday. Analysts had forecast a 1.5-point decline in the gauge. “Uncertainty levels remain high but owners are focused on a very busy Main Street,” report authors William Dunkelberg and Holly Wade wrote. “The surge in optimism was supported by solid gains in reported capital spending, hiring, inventory investment and profit trends.” The fourth straight improvement in optimism, the longest streak in two years, is the latest sign of brighter assessments by small business owners despite trade-policy uncertainty. NFIB’s gauge, based on responses from 650 member firms surveyed in May, remains at one o...