By the Numbers

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Small-business owners showed less confidence in the economy during March, according to a Discover Financial Services (DFS) survey. According to a Dow Jones Newswire report, about 76 percent of respondents report that rising fuel prices were hurting profits. Small-business owners’ confidence has been declining since January, after gaining some traction late last year. The monthly confidence gauge fell to 86.5 in March from 90.2 in February.

The portion of small business owners who said the U.S. economy is getting worse increased to 54 percent in March from 41 percent in February, reaching the highest level since September. About 27 percent of respondents said conditions were improving, down from 34percent. The percentage who see business conditions worsening in the next six months rose by 2 percentage points to 42 percent, while the portion who expect an improvement fell 3 percentage points to 30 percent.—Dow Jones Newswire