Dow Jones - Optimism among USA small-business owners inched up in October, according to a report Tuesday, as more owners said they expect better sales in the months ahead and believe it is a good time to expand their operations.
The NFIB survey is a monthly snapshot of United States small businesses, which account for most private-sector jobs and about half of the country's economic output.
For October, four components of the index advanced, while five retreated and one remained unchanged.
A net 35 percent of owners reported hard-to-fill job openings, up five points.
The labour market continued to get tighter for small business owners last month, continuing a year-long trend, the report said. However, the skills gap continues to be a challenge.
Owners "are more optimistic about real sales growth and improved business conditions through the end of the year", NFIB chief economist Bill Dunkelberg said in prepared remarks.
Four out of every five small business owners feel isolated, and almost a third said they lack knowledge and need extra support in business planning, a survey and report by not-for-profit group, Business Mentors, shows.
A net 4 percent of owners reported plans to increase inventories, down three points.
A Bank of America fall 2017 Small Business Owner report found a high level of small business owner confidence in the economy as well.
However, hiring activity was high in Florida and Georgia, as construction firms tried to meet higher demand caused by recent hurricane activity, according to the NFIB's survey. "We expect the same increase in home improvement spending, partly because of the hurricanes, but also because of the skyrocketing price of homes".