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April 13, 2012 | By | Posted in General News

PA biz feels pressure of declining economic indicators

Pennsylvania subject to same concerns, but doing better
 
By Eric Boehm | PA Independent
 
HARRISBURG — Small business optimism is on the decline nationally for the first time in six months, and Pennsylvania businesses feel the same pressures.

The monthly report from the National Federation of Independent Businesses, or NFIB, tracks 10 components to measure the outlook for small business owners on the economy. 
 
This month’s two-point decline in the index was driven by lowered expectations of sales growth and decreases in hiring plans, but optimism was down in nine of the 10 categories, said Bill Dunkelberg, an economist for the federation, which is a small business association.
 
In Pennsylvania, business owners are dealing with the same high gasoline prices and an inconsistent tax policy debate in the federal government that makes it difficult to plan ahead, said Kevin Shivers, state director of the Pennsylvania NFIB.

But Shivers said Gov. Tom Corbett's focus on reducing government spending is good for businesses here.
 
“While things on the state level are improving, more needs to be done,” Shivers said. “Coupled with the concerns over federal policies and the general business climate are reasons for employers to be skittish here.”
 
 
More than 1,800 Pennsylvanians sought unemployment that month, second only to Oregon. The Labor Department attributed the increase to layoffs in construction, manufacture and trade industries.
 
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