WASHINGTON --U.S. small-business sentiment jumped to its highest level in 6½ years in April, which should bolster hopes of an acceleration in economic activity in the second quarter.
The National Federation of Independent Business said Tuesday its Small Business Optimism Index rose 1.8 points to 95.2 last month, the highest reading since October 2007, when the economy was on the cusp of its worst recession since the 1930s.
"April's reading took the index to a post-recession high and a recovery high level," the NFIB said in a statement.
It adds to data such as employment and surveys on the manufacturing and services industries that have shown the economy regaining steam early in the second quarter after growth braked abruptly in the first three months of the year.
%VIRTUAL-article-sponsoredlinks%Seven of the index's 10 components advanced, with gains in job creation plans and the share of businesses optimistic about earnings. There also was an increase in the share of businesses raising inventories, which was one of the drags on first-quarter growth.
More owners reported they could not find qualified workers to fill open positions, which is leading to higher wages.
"Inflation will begin to pick up because reports of higher compensation are growing in frequency and these costs will be recovered in higher prices," the NFIB said.
Almost a quarter of businesses reported raising prices in April. Another 25 percent plan to increase their prices over the next few months.
"Reports of increases in average selling prices have accelerated sharply in the last few months, reaching the highest level since 2011," the NFIB said.
7 Simple Habits to Save a Pretty Penny (or $100)
Small-Business Confidence Springs Back to Pre-Crisis Levels
Have you ever heard of the 30-day rule? As a frugal guy, this is one of my favorite rules in spending. If you’re about to spend any more than $20 on something that is unnecessary, don’t. Instead, put the item down and wait 30 days to buy it. You’ll be amazed at how much money you save by not making unnecessary frivolous purchases.
I literally mean freeze your credit cards. It seems a bit extreme, but think of it this way. The average credit card comes with a 13 percent or higher interest rate. By simply not using credit cards as often, you’ll save a ton. So, get a plastic sandwich bag and put your credit cards in it. Fill it with water, zip it up and throw it in the freezer. Without easy access to those tempting pieces of plastic, you probably won’t use them as much. However, they’ll still be around -- in an emergency, you can retrieve them from the ice.
Have you ever looked around your house, seen a few items and thought, “I could have made that!” You probably could have. The only thing is, you didn’t. Instead you paid for it. From now on, before you buy something you think you can make on your own, give it a shot. I saved a little over a hundred bucks about two weeks ago. I needed a new bird cage for my fiancé’s doves. Instead of buying a cage for $200, I made one that was far bigger for less than $80.
Did you know that a clean air filter in your car can lead to 7 percent more fuel efficiency? That means at current gas prices, with a clean air filter, you’ll save about $100 a year, if you drive the average 10,000 miles.
How often on the way home from the office do you want to stop for a convenient quick meal? You’ve had a long day, and it feels justified. But it costs much more than a home-cooked meal. The answer is your slow cooker. Use it to prepare your meal in the morning on days you know will be rough. This way, you can skip the fast food and rush home to an already ready home-cooked meal.
Do you pay a maintenance fee for your bank account? Why? Tons of banks offer checking and savings accounts without them. Look to your local credit union or even switch to an online bank. When comparing your options, also look at the interest you can earn. Currently, I get about 3 percent on checking and about 3.4 percent on savings, but who knows what kind of great deals you can find?
I’ve had tons of options to sign up for customer rewards programs and I was just too busy. So, I didn’t sign up. Then one day, I realized that I was paying for rewards I wasn’t getting. The cost of the rewards obviously trickles down to the end consumer. So, if the end consumer doesn’t take part, he or she loses money in the process. Since I’ve signed up for every reward program around me, I’ve saved at least 20 or 30 bucks a month in rewards.