Optimism wanes: The National Federation of Independent Business’ Small Business Optimism Index declined 5.5 points in December to 95.9, falling below the average Index value since 1973 of 98. Owners expecting better business conditions over the next six months declined 24 points to a net negative 16%. State-specific data isn’t available, but NFIB Louisiana state director Dawn Starns says, “small business owners like certainty. They’re not going to spend money on new equipment or locations or add staff unless they think things are heading in the right direction.” See the full survey.
Stronger growth: Albertsons reported stronger sales growth than some rival food sellers as consumers continue to buy more groceries than usual during the coronavirus pandemic, The Wall Street Journal reports. After booking strong sales to consumers who spent most of 2020 cooking at home, Albertsons and other grocers are working to keep sales momentum and hold on to customers who they hope will make some of their pandemic-era eating habits permanent. Read the full story.
Leadership training: Community leaders from business, education and nonprofits will anchor the UL Lafayette’s Women’s Leadership Conference that will be held virtually March 2-4. They will lead a range of virtual sessions, offering career and personal guidance and sharing stories about successes and challenges. This year’s conference will touch on issues such as balancing family and work, empowerment, health and wellness. Get more information here.