Confidence fell 1.8 points to 92.5 on the monthly index published by the National Federation of Independent Business, the lobbying group said Tuesday. Nine of the 10 indicators the federation tracks dropped, with businesses showing less confidence about everything from credit conditions to hiring plans.
More entrepreneurs also expect to raise prices, in what the group called a sign of the impact of energy bills.
Economists expected the NFIB report to be weak, but not as poor as it was, economist Leslie Levesque of consulting firm IHS Global said. The report is consistent with the idea that the economy's growth slowed in the first quarter from its 3% pace in the final three month's of last year.
Photo by Kevin Dooley