Small business owners across the nation are decidedly upbeat about the fourth quarter, with predictions of higher sales and a better economy, as well as plans to expand inventories and obtaining credit more easily. According to October's Business Optimism Index from the National Federation of Independent Business, small business owners' optimism resulted in a four-point jump in the NFIB index, to 103.7.

"The job creation outlook is very good and the fourth quarter should produce solid employment gains," said NFIB chief economist William Dunkelberg about the October poll. "More firms plan to create new jobs than at any time since the dot-com boom."

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