Magazine article Economic Trends

Monthly Report-March 2004

Magazine article Economic Trends

Monthly Report-March 2004

Article excerpt

The Small Business Optimism Index fell in February, dropping to 102.6 (1986=100), a loss of 3.2 points from January. NFIB measures returned to lower but still solid levels. The figures suggest that first quarter growth, especially in employment, may not be as strong as anticipated a few months ago. Positive sales trends faded in February after five months of sales gains. Reports of increases in average selling prices nearly doubled during the month. However, in spite of more frequent price hikes, reports of profit gains faded, perhaps a result of less positive sales trends. The February profit reading is still one of the best in recent years. Reports of capital outlays eased to 62 percent of all firms, a solid figure. While this marked a loss from January, small business owners are still inclined to expand facilities now that economic growth is looking real and sustainable. Reported inventory change returned to negative territory after the January reading of 1 percent ended a 33 consecutive month negative run. …

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