New data from the Thomson Reuters/PayNet Small Business Lending Index reveals that small businesses boosted borrowing in October to their highest level in over six years, fresh evidence that the budget battle that shut the federal government for 16 days did little to derail underlying economic growth.

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The increase “bodes well for GDP,” PayNet founder Bill Phelan said. “When you have investment to increase assets to produce more goods, you’ve got to believe there’s more job creation going on.”

With U.S. economic output now higher than it was when the index last peaked in January 2007, “there’s a lot of room to grow here; this does not indicate any kind of froth,” he added.

The outlook for the job market is crucial to the Federal Reserve’s decision on when to cut back on its massive bond-buying stimulus program, as Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke has said he wants further proof of labor market strengthening before so.

Read full story: U.S. small business borrowing rises to six-year high, index shows (Reuters)

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