The National Federation of Independent Businesses said their monthly Index of Small Business Optimism gained 2 points in April, the highest reading since December 2007.
The index reached 94.5 in April, although the milestone is a false summit. April's mark "only returns the index to its February 2011 level, indicating that in a year, the net gain has been zero," the NFIB said.
"While the index remains historically weak, there was good news in the details of April's report," said NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg.
"Job creation plans, job openings and capital spending plans all increased. Hopefully, this performance will hold in the coming months," Dunkelberg said.
Will it hold? "(The) gross domestic product and employment growth news has not been good," he said. "The euro debt crisis continues to make news and Congress leaves us on an identical path: huge deficits, a terrifying amount of liquidity at the Fed, and no indication that anything positive will be done."
The index is based on surveys with 1,817 NFIB members, the trade group said.