Small business owners say they're getting more optimistic about the economy, and about their own prospects. That's according to a survey by the National Federation of Independent Businesses, an influential business group. And this is among several recent reports suggesting the economy is continuing to improve.
NPR's Chris Arnold has more.
CHRIS ARNOLD, BYLINE: Small businesses are getting more confident. And that's a good sign, says John Silvia, the chief economist at Wells Fargo.
The European company Airbus reports it took a record number of orders in 2011 — more than 1,400. The surge was driven by demand for its revamped A-320 aircraft which is supposed to be more fuel efficient. Meanwhile Boeing sold only about 800 aircraft last year.
The brewer of Yuengling based in Pottsville, Pa., is now the largest American beermaker. Other popular beers like Bud are now owned by foreign companies. Yuengling shipments grew last year to about 2.5 million barrels, edging out the maker of Samuel Adams.
Egyptian cyber activist and former Google executive Wael Ghonim talks to Steve Inskeep about his new book Revolution 2.0, which chronicles his role, and that of social media, in the toppling the regime of Hosni Mubarak.
Under heavy pressure from his rivals, front-runner Mitt Romney defended his record as a venture capitalist. He also insisted he bears no responsibility for attack ads aired by his allies, and grudgingly said he might release his income tax returns this spring.
The Republican presidential candidates gathered last night In Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, for a debate. Myrtle Beach is also the site for the first convention of the South Carolina Tea Party Coalition.
There is no law against walking out the door during intermission, but it can be a dilemma. You're at a concert or a play and for whatever reason decide you don't really want to go back for the second half of the performance. If enough people think the same thing, it can mean a lot of empty seats after the break. It's something audience members do think about. And as NPR's Elizabeth Blair tells us, so do theaters and orchestras, some of which are tightening up their act.
Fitch rating agency has downgraded its outlook on Russia's debt rating from positive to stable. The agency indicated the recent widespread protests in Moscow and other cities were behind the downgrade.
Let's report next on the food supply in this country. With so many Americans out of work, people feel the change in prices at the grocery store. So it's at least a potential relief to learn what the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported about the nation's crop supply the other day. The supply of corn, used in many kinds of food and fuel, is not as tight as expected, so the price of corn quickly fell 50 cents a bushel. But Harvest Public Media's Eric Durban reports it may take time to see a difference.
Delta planes line up at the terminal at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. Southwest Airlines will begin serving the city next month, and hopes to lure passengers away from the hometown airline.