US small business confidence edges up

Washington, Feb 13 (IANS) US small business confidence edged up in January, but remained one of the lowest readings in the survey's 40-year history, a leading industry association said.

The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) said that its Small-Business Optimism Index rose just 0.9 points to 88.9 in January from December 2012, failing to regain the losses caused by last month's "fiscal cliff" scare. It remained one of the lowest readings in the NFIB survey history that began in 1973, reported Xinhua.

"The Optimism Index barely budged in January. The only good news is that it 'budged' up, not down," NFIB chief economist Bill Dunkelberg said in a statement, adding that small business owners were still pessimistic "in light of higher taxes, rising health insurance costs, increasing regulations and just plain uncertainty".

The index fluctuated between 86.5 and 94.5 since the recession ended in June 2009.

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