All those pundits who declared the current recession dead and buried, obviously haven’t been talking to small business owners.

Chapman University economists are the latest to announce the official end of the recession – with the codicil that the recovery will be more tortoise than hare.

In stark contrast to that report is the latest National Federation of Independent Business survey that shows small business confidence is locked in a downward spiral, that is worse than at any time during the last big recession in 1981-82.

The NFIB index showed a drop of 0.8 points in November – to 88.3 – from where it was in October and it represented the sixth time the index was below 90 since the current recession officially began 24 months ago. According to the NFIB, the index never fell below 90 at any point during the 1981-82 downturn and experienced a sharp rise at the beginning of 1983.

NFIB chief economist William Dunkelberg said the index’s current level was directly related to a lack of consumer spending. It seems not even a modest increase in Black Friday sales volume was enough to boost morale among small business owners.