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First Cut: NFIB Small Business Optimism little changed in February from January

The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index was little changed at 101.7 in February after 101.2 in January. The index components mainly displayed only normal small month-to-month movement. What was notable was that the expectations for the economy to improve rebounded to 11% in February after falling ten points to 6% in January. This clearly the result of the end of the partial federal government shutdown. However,  the level showed expectations remained at their lowest since 12% in November 2016.

Data related to the labor market suggest that overall all conditions remain healthy, but that the pace of hiring has slowed even as the number of job openings remains elevated.

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