Small-Business Optimism About Future Conditions Falls to 8-Year Low, Hiring Difficulties Hit 48-Year High

Overall optimism among small-business owners ticked up slightly in August, although the level of confidence in the six-months-ahead outlook for business conditions fell to an eight-year low while hiring difficulties hit a 48-year high, a new report shows. The so-called optimism index edged up by 0.4 percentage points to 100.1 in August from July, according to the Sept. 14 Small Business Economic Trends report (pdf) from the National Federation of Small Business (NFIB). The uptick in overall optimism came alongside a sharp eight-point drop in the six-months-ahead outlook for business conditions. The forward-looking index of future expectations fell to a reading of negative 28 percent, the lowest number since January 2013. “As the economy moves into the fourth quarter, small-business owners are losing confidence in the strength of future business conditions,” said NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg. At the same time, 50 percent of small business owners reported job openings …

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