Confidence among small-business owners is on the upswing, as the National Federation of Independent Business' optimism index increased to 92, the highest measurement since February. But the reading is still lower than it was before 2008, NFIB's report notes. "The numbers have been depressing for so long, any little progress looks good. More firms are now creating jobs than cutting them and plans to do so rose nicely, even if they are still at weak levels," said NFIB's William Dunkelberg.

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