WASHINGTON - Economic conditions for small business improved in the second quarter of 2004 according to the recently releasedQuarterly Indicators: The Economy And Small Business. The report, issued by the U.S. Small Business Administration's (SBA's) Office of Advocacy, shows proprietors' income increased at an annualized rate of 14.8 percent and the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) optimism index remained in record high territory.

"The outlook for small business continues to be good," said Thomas M. Sullivan, chief counsel for advocacy. "The economic conditions in the second quarter place small business in a strong position. Over the past year the economic trends have been positive and that's been good for small business owners and their employees."

According to the SBA, the report draws on a variety of data sources to describe the economic conditions faced by small business, which account for a significant portion of the overall economy. It is the second release in a new quarterly series that provides current data on small business.

The report notes that interest rates remained low with the prime rate at 4 percent while the rate for small business loans of less than $100,000 averaged 4.2 percent. Worker productivity remained strong with a 4.6 percent increase in nonfarm business output per hour. And, the 2.8 percent increase in gross domestic product (GDP) marked the 11th consecutive quarter of positive real output growth since the recession of 2001.

For more information, visit the Office of Advocacy Web site at www.sba.gov/advo.

Publication date: 09/06/2004