Main Street strengthens, but tough lending conditions linger


Despite the Fed’s overall positive data on Main Street, optimism remains uneven since the recession.

In separate data out Tuesday, U.S. small business confidence declined further in February to a two-year low. The National Federation of Independent Business said its small business optimism index dropped 1 point to a reading of 92.9 last month, which is well below the 42 year average of 98.

Read MoreSmall business confidence weakens

Spending and hiring plans weakened slightly as expectations for growth in real sales volumes fell. Earnings trends also softened.

“A ho-hum outcome this month confirms that the small business sector is not performing with any strength,” NFIB Chief Economist William C. Dunkelberg said in a statement.

And this muted sentiment among pockets of Main Street is only getting amplified during a presidential election year.

What’s driving small business owners during an election cycle? “There are issues squeezing small business owners from every side — the economy, taxes and health care,” John Swanciger, CEO of Manta, a social network for small business owners, told CNBC. “They are looking for a candidate who understands how their sector is being impacted.”

Read MoreMain Street speaks out: Top candidate for small biz



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