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The Index of Small Business Optimism lost 1.3 points, falling to 86.5 (1986=100) still 5.5 points higher than the survey’s second lowest reading reached in March. Four of the ten Index components posted gains, 6 declined. The loss, small in magnitude, was primarily a result of weaker expectations for improved business conditions. The NFIB data indicated an unemployment rate of 9.3 percent for the second quarter, pretty close to the mark of 9.2 percent. The July labor market data indicate an unemployment rate of 9.1 percent for the third quarter, an improvement consistent with the start of economic recovery. The data indicate that the recession is ending, but the economy is only now making the turn and substantial progress yet to be made. But the direction is clear.

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