Small businesses optimistic on US economy but still facing headwinds, survey

Small businesses optimistic on US economy but still facing headwinds, survey
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Small business owners are upbeat about economic growth but that optimism is being sapped by weak inventories and hard-to-fill job openings.

A new survey by the National Federation of Independent Business on Tuesday showed that those who expect better business conditions in the next six months jumped 12 points in September, climbing out of negative territory and getting back to zero.

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"We improved from awful to bad,” said Juanita Duggan, NFIB President and CEO.

“The bottom line is that small business owners are deeply uncertain about the future and that is affecting their decisions,” Duggan said.

Overall, the NFIB’s index dipped 0.03 points in September for the second consecutive month.

Increased inventories fell seven points while difficult-to-fill job openings plunged six points to 24 percent.

Six of the 10 components of the index fell, washing away the rise in expected business conditions.

Bill Dunkelberg, NFIB's chief economist, said small business owners won’t hire or build their inventories — both of which signify economic confidence — until something changes in Washington.

“It is quite clear that the top issues for small-business owners will not be addressed this year,” Dunkelberg said.

"The presidential election is so divisive that it offers little promise of a bipartisan effort to deal with any of these important issues," he said.