There are many different economic indicators for small businesses. But sometimes they can be misleading. Here's a list of 10 economic indicators that mislead small businesses, according to The Huffington Post.
New home sales were around 1.4 million a month in the mid 2000s. Now they're around 300,000 a month.
Current existing home sales are approximately 35 percent less than they were back in the mid 2000s.
It was recently reported that the unemployment rate dropped to 8.2 percent. Most economists believe the unemployment rate should be around 6 percent.
Today, 5 million more people are jobless than before the recession.
GDP is a measure often used to measure economic output. Some people are excited about the Fed predicting GDP will be between 2 and 2.3 percent this year, up from 1.7 percent in 2011.
GDP was in the red during the recession.
But China's GDP has dropped to 8 percent, way above that of the U.S. Even if the growth rate in the U.S. doubles to 4 percent, it would still be half what it was in the 1980s and 35 percent less than what it was before the recession.
Soon, housing starts will have had their best quarter since 2008. But small businesses in real estate and construction have a long road of them.
Housing starts are picking up but they're only one third of what they were in the mid 2000s.
Weekly unemployment claims dropped to a four year low of 375,000 in early April.
Before the recession, weekly unemployment claims stayed around 300,000.
In March, the economy added 120,000 net jobs. At that pace, it will take three-and-a-half years before reaching pre-recession levels.
Light auto sales totaled about 14 million for March. Auto sales have been rising for a while.
But the U.S. is still about 20 percent behind pre-recession levels of 16 to 18 million sales a month.
Retail sales are going up, but consumer confidence has its problems.
Another index, the University of Michigan's Consumer Sentiment Index is currently around 70. Before the recession it was 110.
That means people are about 40 less confident in the economy than they were before the recession.
The Small Business Optimism Index, published by the National Federation of Independent Businesses, usually gets more media attention than any other small business indicator.
Optimism went down in March and optimism levels are approximately 85 percent of what they were in 2004.
Also, confidence in the economy is greatly less than what it was during the last two recessions.
The Dow dropped from 14,164 on October 9, 2007, all the way down to 6,547 on March 9, 2009. It has recovered back up to about 13,000.
But this average consists of only 30 industrial companies. Also, with interest rates so low, a lot of economists say the cause isn't an improving economy but quantitative easing by the Fed.
Even though manufacturing in the New York and Philadelphia regions are growing, they're doing so at a slow rate.
These rates are only about 55 compared to the 60s seen in 2003-2004. Manufacturing levels in 2011 were getting close to those of 2003 and 2004 but have dropped off once again.