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Businesses Show More Confidence In The Economy


Small business owners say they're getting more optimistic about the economy, and about their own prospects. That's according to a survey by the National Federation of Independent Businesses, an influential business group. And this is among several recent reports suggesting the economy is continuing to improve.

NPR's Chris Arnold has more.

CHRIS ARNOLD, BYLINE: Small businesses are getting more confident. And that's a good sign, says John Silvia, the chief economist at Wells Fargo.

JOHN SILVIA: The survey that's risen the last four months in a row, and it also does suggest that firms planning to hire has picked up, compensation has picked up, as well. This is very encouraging because it is focused primarily on small firms and it gives a nice positive signal to the overall economy.

ARNOLD: Just a few months ago, economists were more nervous about problems in Europe dragging the entire U.S. economy back into another recession. And that is still a possibility. But lately, all kinds of data - consumer confidence, factory orders, job creation - all that has been suggesting that actually, things are a little bit better than most experts thought, and a double-dip recession is looking less and less likely.

SILVIA: We're in for a long slog in getting back to, you know, something that most people would recognize as good solid economic strength. But it's positive.

ARNOLD: Now, about that long slog, experts do not think that the economy is off to the races. For one thing the housing market is still a pretty giant mess. And while some jobs are being created, unemployment remains very high - it's up around eight and a half percent. And John Silvia doesn't expect that to change much over the next six months.

Chris Arnold, NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR correspondent Chris Arnold is based in Boston. His reports are heard regularly on NPR's award-winning newsmagazines Morning Edition, All Things Considered, and Weekend Edition. He joined NPR in 1996 and was based in San Francisco before moving to Boston in 2001.