NEW YORK – Small business owners were more optimistic in April than in March as the Small Business Optimism index rose to 94.5 from 92.5, the National Federation of Independent Business said Tuesday.

The index is at its February 2011 level.

“While March did not post strong job creation numbers, labor market indicators did improve, suggesting better job growth in the next few months,” the NFIB said.

"While the Index remains historically weak, there was good news in the details of April's report. Job creation plans, job openings and capital spending plans all increased. Hopefully, this performance will hold in the coming months," said NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg. "However, GDP and employment growth news has not been good; the Euro debt crisis continues to make news and Congress leaves us on an identical path: huge deficits, a terrifying amount of liquidity at the Fed, and no indication that anything positive will be done. Most likely, there will be only small improvements on Main Street in optimism or hiring and spending this year. With the election six months away, the Index will signal how small firm owners see the economy's future unfolding-and their outlook will be telling."

The report showed profits and sales strengthening, both reaching the best numbers since April 2007. Job creation fell, but was still a positive number, according to the report.

Businesses are concerned about inflation, with more than one-quarter of respondents raising prices in the past three months in response to rising costs of labor and materials.

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