Small Business Optimism Dips on ‘Uncertainty’

iStock / Getty Images Plus
iStock / Getty Images Plus

Small business owners’ confidence faded in June as businesses confronted a tight labor market, flagging economic conditions around the world, and an increase in trade tensions.

The National Federation of Independent Business said its small business optimism gauge sank a modest 1.7 points to 103.7, slightly worse than the 104 expected by economists polled by Econoday.

Six of the index’s 10 components fell, three improved, and one stayed the same. Perhaps most importantly, business owners’ plans to invest in capital expenditures and expand employers declined.

“Last month, small business owners curbed spending, sales expectations and profits both fell, and the outlook for expansion dampened. When you add difficulty finding qualified workers and harmful state level laws and regulations, you’re left with a volatile mix where uncertainty has increased to levels not seen in more than two years,” said NFIB President and CEO Juanita D. Duggan.

June saw trade tensions with China and Mexico rise to new highs, only to be partially deflated later in the month as the Trump administration reached a border accord with Mexico and agreed to restart trade talks with China.

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