Small businesses’ outlook improved at end of year

NEW YORK — Small business owners were slightly more optimistic at the end of 2012 even as they awaited the outcome of negotiations in Congress over the “fiscal cliff.”

That’s the finding of a survey by the National Federation of Independent Business, a lobbying group. The NFIB’s small-business-optimism index rose half a point from its level in November to 88. The index remains near its lowest readings on record.

The survey was completed on Dec. 28, four days before the House voted for a bill that spared tax increases on the middle class and postponed steep budget cuts.

The NFIB says its January survey may more accurately reflect how owners feel. With year-end political and tax issues resolved, they can focus on the economy.

The December index reading was lifted in part by owners’ slightly higher expectations that their sales would rise in 2013. Employment in the sector was virtually unchanged.

And it was clear that they were waiting to see the outcome of the talks in Washington before making plans to invest in equipment or expand. More than half — 52 percent — said they did not want to take out a loan. Companies often borrow when they’re getting ready to expand — or hire.

The NFIB questioned 648 of its members selected at random for the survey.

More in Business

Voters are on the sidelines as the port fills a vacant seat

Troy McClelland resigned from the Port of Everett commission too late for an election before 2019.

In space capsules today, little room but big improvement

Boeing and SpaceX are relying on a tried-and-true design as they each develop new spacecraft.

First Boeing KC-46 delivery to Air Force slides into 2018

Certification milestones have been missed, and problems have emerged in flight test, a source says.

Newest must-try eatery: 85°C Bakery Cafe in Lynnwood

The popular bakery, part of a Taiwan-based chain, is already drawing out-the-door crowds.

Snohomish County tax liens

Tax liens are gathered from online public records filed with the Snohomish… Continue reading

Trudeau: Canada could stop dealing with Boeing over dispute

Boeing had petitioned the U.S. to investigate government subsidies of Bombardier’s CSeries aircraft.

Toys ‘R’ Us files for bankruptcy but keeps stores open

Retailers of all kinds are struggling. Toys ‘R’ Us is among at least 18 other bankruptcies this year.

Marysville-Arlington fiber-optic link planned by Comcast

The high-speed internet line, to be ready next year, is seen as a boost for business development.

‘Cheese that was grass 24 hours ago’ wins a farm accolades

Ferndale Farmstead specializes in authentic Italian cheeses — made with with American milk.

Most Read