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10/8, 12:15 PM (Source: TeleTrader)
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Morale at small firms in US weakens to half-year low

The National Federation of Independent Business said on Tuesday that its index measuring optimism among small enterprises dropped 1.3 points to land at 101.8 for September. It matched the level from March, when it was on a growing trajectory. The surprising weakening in morale was attributed to a rise in uncertainty and a slowdown in growth, though the pace is still "solid."

The indicator remained in the top fifth in historical terms. None of the ten items grew while six retreated. The balance of job openings remained unchanged and the strongest component, at 35%. Optimism for the expansion in business activity fell the most, four points to 22%, followed by three-point drops in hiring plans and economic expectations, to 17% and 9%, respectively. The inventory measure stood at 6% in negative territory, the lowest reading.

"All indications are that owners are eager to do more, but they’re uncertain about what the future holds and can’t find workers to fill the jobs they have open," NFIB's boss Juanita Duggan said and cited "mixed signals" from the government.

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