Small business owners felt a little more optimistic in April.
The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) reports that its Index of Small Business Optimism rose 2 points to a score of 94.5 last month.
With the latest reading, the index has returned to the same level achieved in February of last year, mirroring other economic indicators that show economic growth proceeding at a slow pace.
The index is compiled based on responses to a survey of 1,817 randomly chosen NFIB-member businesses.
NFIB officials noted that a slightly increased number of small businesses said they planned to increase hiring and spending, suggesting that the nation’s job market will continue to improve during the rest of the year, if only slowly.
Still, the index continues to show “historically weak” results, NFIB officials said. This leads the NFIB to forecast only “small” improvements in popular sentiments regarding jobs and spending for 2012.
During April, small businesses reported improved earnings and wages, the best scores since April 2007. Sales were also up during the month, though “not dramatically.” 12% of small businesses surveyed by the NFIB added an average of 3.3 employees over the past several months, while 14% cut an average of 2.9 workers.
The full details of the NFIB study can be found here.