Small-business confidence rose 0.8 points in September, which put an end to the six-month decline, according to the National Federation of Independent Business' newest Index.

Despite the gain, NFIB's Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg believes there is not much among the 10 Index components that can be considered "positive." While reports of owners anticipating real sales to increase were higher in September, they were still negative. Owners expecting improved business conditions in six months slightly grew, though this reading also remained negative. 

"An increase in consumer spending would be the best imaginable stimulus right now, not gimmicky Washington policies," Dunkelberg says. "Promising temporary tax cuts financed by permanent income tax increases will not help many small-business owners who pay taxes based on personal — not corporate — tax rates. The key to economic recovery is restoring the confidence of consumers; only then will small businesses begin to see the sales they need to expand.

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