On this eleventh anniversary of one of the most inauspicious days in our Nation’s history and at a time when it seems America is more divided than ever before, it might be a welcome change to focus on the glass being half full as opposed to half empty. Good thing there are two benchmarks, the results of which were released just today, that we only can hope offer a glimmer of better times ahead.
First, confidence among U.S. small business owners climbed last month for the first time in four months, according to the National Federation of Independent Business’ (NFIB) optimism index. “Employment indicators for the fourth quarter improved substantially, as did plans for capital outlays and expectations for business conditions,” the NFIB said in its statement today. However, three of the ten index components, including credit conditions, near-term expansion plans and earning trends, saw slight downturns from last month, reinforcing the fact that uncertainty among business opportunity, franchise and other small business owners continues to take an economic toll.
Second, according to the newest Gallup poll results, U.S. economic confidence surged 11 points last week, putting it on par with the highest levels seen since January 2008, when polling on this measure began. That confidence boost held through last Sunday, despite Friday morning’s disappointing jobs report.
The question of whether or not the small measure of good news signaled by these two indicators will be the beginning of an overall more stable and upward economic trend remains unanswerable. Given the current contentious and unsettling political climate, it is truly anyone’s guess. But for today, on a day when remembering is so hard, perhaps even a fleeting moment of optimism is better than none at all.
To read the NFIB statement on its latest Optimism Index findings, go to Small-Business Optimism Sees Slight Bump in August now. And to see Gallup's newest poll results, just click on U.S. Economic Confidence Surged 11 Points Last Week.